The poor state of livestock and crop production in the Caribbean is due in large measure to the low priority given to agricultural research by regional governments, according to Dr Leslie Ramsammay, Guyana's minister of agriculture.
During Friday's opening of the 2013 Caribbean Week of Agriculture, Ramsammay said that the plan to make the Caribbean hunger-free by 2025 was unrealistic in light of the absence of a regional research agenda and that there was no evidence that things were likely to change anytime soon.
"We cannot achieve those aspirations and those goals unless agriculture plays its role and without proper research, we will not be able to do so and that is why we need to get off where we are and address the issue," he charged.
"Together, our commitment to agriculture research represents less than 0.1 per cent of our GDP. We share that shame with the whole of the region, including Latin America. Cuba is about 0.7, Brazil about 0.5 per cent of GDP; Argentina, Chile they made some efforts, but in the Caribbean less than 0.1 per cent goes to research and we need to address those issues."
The 12th staging of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture runs until Saturday.