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…says Minister Mustapha tells UN Food Systems Pre-Summit
As Guyana is working towards developing its food systems and food security internally, it is collaborating with CARICOM to achieve the same on a wider level towards the goal of global improvement. However, to meet these goals, international financing is necessary especially against the threat of climate change.
This was the virtual message shared by Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha on Tuesday at the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 – Pre-summit. Minister Mustapha, in delivering remarks, said that the summit has provided an opportunity for Guyana to assess its food systems and to engage in fruitful discussions towards achieving food security at the community level and then on to the global level.
He told the attending delegates that while Guyana has experienced its fair share of food challenges and continues to, leaders within the country are dedicated to improving the country’s position.
The Minister noted that national dialogues have been held with the inclusion of stakeholders, ranging from farmers to international partners, to discuss and agree on priority actions to enhance Guyana’s food systems and improve access to safe and nutritious food.
One of the intentions he noted was the expansion of the non-traditional agriculture subsection which is critical for diet diversification and enabling the availability and accessibility to rural populations. He also spoke about the intention to reduce on-farm and post-harvest food loss through technology.
“The challenges are many but the solutions are well within our reach…Guyana will strive to establish an enabling environment for a circular food economy by 2030 which includes reducing food loss and waste. We will also seek to consolidate our national school feeding programmes by strengthening connections between consumers and producers,” Minister Mustapha said.
He told the attendees that Guyana also intends to stimulate the local economy by providing small farmers with guaranteed markets for a portion of their produce; confronting the effects of climate change on farmers and fishers; developing vulnerability funds for the agriculture sector and increasing investment in disaster preparedness.
Currently, Guyana has responsibility for Agriculture and Agriculture Diversification and Food Security in CARICOM. Minister Mustapha reminded that this year, President Irfaan Ali presented a food security strategy to CARICOM Heads of Government with recommendations to developing food systems.
However, he added: “Excellencies, financing for mitigation and adaptation to climate change is more critical today than ever before and is necessary to protect and transfer Caribbean food systems. International support, including from FAO, IFAT, financial institutions and bilateral partners will be critical to ensure a more resilient agriculture sector.”
The United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 – Pre-summit, which is ongoing in Rome from 26–28 July 2021, will set the stage for the culminating global event in September by bringing together diverse actors from around the world to leverage the power of food systems to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).