Tuesday 12 November, 2019

Government working toward zero hunger goal by 2030

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir has announced government's plans to implement the Farmers' Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive (FEED) Programme, in an effort to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030. 

This programme aims to ensure long-term national food and nutrition security through improved access to safe and nutritious foods; and to increase employment, especially among the youth and women.

The first cohort of over 100 persons participated in the 12-week training component of the FEED programme and benefited from practical and theoretical training in various agricultural activities and practices.  The programme has now entered the land allocation phase, where farmers who successfully complete the training will be eligible to lease land ranging from one-quarter of an acre to five acres.

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The agriculture sector will contribute to the Gross Domestic Product by increasing net foreign exchange earnings and reducing foreign exchange outflows.

In July 2017, history was created when the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the UN convened a meeting of the First Parliamentary Front against Hunger (PFH) with Members of Parliament of the Caribbean Community in the context of the global fight against hunger and malnutrition.

In accordance with the recommendations from that meeting, government and the Opposition have agreed to the establishment of a Parliamentary Front against Hunger and Malnutrition. The Parliamentary Front Committee will seek to assess the policy regarding the School Feeding Programme and also engage fast food restaurants on healthier alternatives.

While adopting policies of sustainable agriculture, countries have encountered a ‘giant’ that is very disruptive -climate change, which is characterized by extreme temperatures and weather events that are likely to thwart sustainable agricultural development. 

The intense droughts associated with climate change will further reduce the availability of potable water in our already water-scarce country. The Ministry continues to urge farmers to practise water-harvesting techniques, such as the collection of rainwater from the roofs of houses and animal pens, to be used for irrigation purposes.

The Ministry is seeking to promote container farming which provides for year-round production of food, especially green leafy vegetables, herbs and other shallow-rooted crops.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has established a Climate Change Unit to assess the impact of climate change and examine the level of adaptation of animal species and crop varieties in order to develop strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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