Green lobbies for increased research focus at FAOWednesday, June 16, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, has called on the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to take action in helping small island developing states (SIDS) to research appropriate alternate feed stock from local sources that can enable a sustainable and resilient food system.
“This has to be a part of the renewed drive by the FAO to ensure the developing countries are on the cutting edge of region-specific research,” said Green, who noted that the majority of SIDS depend on the importation of inputs to drive the development of their agricultural sector, especially the livestock industry.
Green stated that the import of animal feed was critical to the industry, but the significant rise in costs of feed has put the industry at risk and was one of the greatest threats to food security.
Green was speaking yesterday during the general debate at the 42nd Session of the FAO Virtual Conference under the theme 'Agriculture Food Systems Transformation: from Strategy to Action'. He commended FAO Director General Dr QU Dongyu for his leadership and the visionary and practical reforms which have implemented leading to structural change in the FAO, including a permanent seat at the table for youth and women.
While noting that the country offices have become more engaging and are integral in helping to transform food systems locally and across the region, Green also called on the FAO to move its focus from international policy and strategy to on-the-ground action. He pointed out that the pandemic has had a more severe impact on SIDS pushing them further away from achieving the sustainable development goals.
Green also said there was a need for the FAO and its development partners to help establish appropriate storage and cold chain logistics, stating that the fallout of the worldwide tourism industry as a result of the pandemic has led to farmers losing their main market, and highlighted the shortcomings of logistics and cold chain networks.
This, he said, caused significant loss and wastage leading to potential food insecurity. To lessen the impact, Green said the government had to directly intervene through a US$2-million programme to buy excess agricultural produce and redistribute it to the vulnerable.
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