Youth entrepreneurship, food security among FAO priorities
Youth entrepreneurship and investments to boost food security capacity are among the priority areas identified by delegates of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) member states of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), who attended the 35th Regional LAC Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre over the course of this week.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, who chaired the conference's first two sessions, said these regional commonalities, along with capacity building for farmers, are set to be addressed by the FAO during the 2018-19 biennium, pointing out that the organisation has given a "general indication of how they will allocate resources".
"Our priority areas are 'more investment to boost our capacity to feed ourselves' and 'youth entrepreneurship', because there is a cry all over the conference that the young people are not engaged because agriculture is not attractive enough," Stanberry said.
Stanberry said the reports which were presented by the three subregions - the Caribbean, South and Central America - highlighted other concerns, including the impact of climate change on agriculture in the various countries.
"Although we are disproportionately affected by climate change in terms of hurricanes, we find that the other two sub-regions have their own impacts in terms of drought and so on," the permanent secretary explained.
"People are concerned that to combat the issues of food security, we need more investments in infrastructure (and) in public goods that can make for sustainable agricultural production."
Stanberry said Jamaica's hosting of the event was a plus for Caribbean countries, while noting that there has been record representation in the number of participants attending.