‘Eating healthy is not just for old people or the sickly’ – President Ali

… says wider focus on food security needed


As Guyana continues to provide leadership on helping the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) reduce its expensive food import bill, President Dr. Irfaan Ali on Tuesday emphasised that countries must work towards guaranteeing that their people can afford to eat healthy.

The Guyanese Head of State, while addressing a Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) high-level meeting of agriculture ministers, said there is a paucity of affordable, healthy food options in the region.

Instead, he said distributors import “junk” from outside the region.

That, he said, leads to many people having poor nutrition- an occurrence that must change now that the region is hoping to produce more food and import a lot less.

“How do we reverse our focus on nutrition as if nutrition is for old people, or for sick people or for people after 35 (years old)?” the President asked.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali with CELAC Ministers of Agriculture (Photo: President Irfaan Ali/ Facebook/ June 27, 2023)

To guarantee that people eat better, Dr. Ali said governments must develop a holistic strategy for nutrition that will help guide food production and intra-regional food trade.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is pursuing revitalised efforts to cut the region’s multibillion dollar annual food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025. Governments believe this can be done if they increase regional food production trade among themselves.

These efforts are led by Guyana with President Ali as the Lead Head for agriculture in CARICOM’s quasi-Cabinet.

There has been some progress made in achieving this goal but as he spoke to the regional agriculture ministers at the CELAC meeting, Dr. Ali posited that the focus on food security must be expanded to include the cost of eating healthy and how the education, health and technology sectors must be integrated into food security ambitions.

In fact, he said, “Nutritional change and health changes must be built into the education system.”

And added that technology must be the driver of expanded food production efforts. It is also believed that technology can help countries mitigate the harsh effects of climate change.

1 Comment
  1. Dino Badal says

    This is why I am urging the present Government to subsidize locally grown food products that can be traded freely between Caricom Countries, this will enhance local cuisines and greatly reduce the amount of junk foods being imported into the Caribbean countries.

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