(SLUTimes)Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Dr. Carla Barnett has underscored the need for agriculture transformation in remarks on Friday at the virtual launch of the 17th Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA).
The Bahamas will host CWA this year from October 9-13 under the theme ‘Accelerating Vision 25 by 2025’.
The CARICOM Secretary-General noted that the theme underscores the region’s ongoing commitment to food and nutrition security, agricultural development, investment, and innovation.
“We need all hands on deck to transform our agriculture into a sustainable, productive, competitive, and food-secure block with healthy, nutritious foods for everyone,” Dr. Barnett stated.
“We must remain focused on reducing the Region’s growing food import bill, and on leveraging the agricultural sector to enhance and empower our women and young people, and our rural communities,” she told Friday’s virtual launch.
Barnett observed that with the official implementation of the 25 by 2025 initiative in 2021, the region is now at the halfway point.
The 25 by 2025 initiative aims to reduce high food imports by 25 percent by 2025.
The CARICOM Secretary-General said there had been some key achievements, and the groundwork is being laid for additional successes.
As a result, Barnett described this year’s CWA as pivotal.
She explained that it would seek to put policy into action to effectively build economic resilience and drive the inclusive socio-economic development of CARICOM.
CWA will bring together critical regional decision-makers from the public and private sectors so that stakeholders in agriculture and related sectors can continue to forge a shared vision.
The event will also feature a trade show and a Special Meeting of the Council of Trade and Economic Development (COTED) – Agriculture.
The COTED meeting will address significant policy issues such as increasing agricultural production and trade, health, and food safety.