As millions still go hungry, President Ali implores investment in agriculture


Millions are starving and many others do not have access to the healthy food needed as part of their daily diets. This was a sobering fact shared by Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali on Monday as he addressed the opening ceremony of the Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) regional conference which is being held in Georgetown this week.

He called on regional agriculture ministers and other leaders, gathered for the conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, to ensure that their countries spend more on food production.

“Political will is not only about shouting out a message, it is about making the necessary adjustments and changes in your own systems to support that message,” Dr. Ali said.

He added, “We cannot go on without finding innovative ways of financing, and insurance to support the food production system.”

For him, governments’ budgetary spending on agriculture and food production systems must increase and increase substantially. In Guyana, he said, this is already happening with budgetary allocations for the agriculture sector increasing from $13.3 billion in 2019 to $32.2 billion in 2023.

Dr. Ali also believes that the Caribbean and Latin American countries must find ways to infuse more technology into its food production efforts, and get more women and youth involved.

Collaboration among each other, particularly in the region that is disproportionately affected by the effects of the climate crisis, is a priority for President Ali. That’s why, Dr. Ali explained, Guyana is pushing for greater collaboration between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Brazil.

President Ali is currently the Chairman of CARICOM. Outside of this six-month responsibility, President Ali also has the lead responsibility for food security and nutrition in CARICOM’s quasi- cabinet.

He said Guyana and other CARICOM countries are already doing a lot to achieve their ambitious goal of slashing costly extra-regional food imports by 25% by 2025. He, however, noted that the cash-strapped nations can’t ensure the region’s food security on their own so they are relying on the private sector and other partners to help them.


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.