— President Ali proposes additional US$25M for women and youth in agriculture
GUYANA and Caribbean nations will benefit US$28M from the US to increase food production in the region, President Dr Irfaan Ali announced on Thursday.
The President made the announcement following a meeting with US Vice-President Kamala Harris in Washington.
According to President Ali, the funds will be available immediately for short-term activities to support the increase in regional food production and bettering agriculture in the region.
Guyana has the responsibility of chairing the United States-CARICOM-Dominican Republic sub-committee on food security and agriculture.
President Ali, who is the lead Head of Government for agriculture in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet, is part of a delegation of the Energy, Agriculture, and finance sub-committee leaders that met with the US Vice-President and President of The Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, to review progress since the committees were established and to outline the strategy moving forward.
President Ali noted that a major area being tackled to increase food production in the region is the intra-regional trade barriers.
“We agreed in tackling the inter-regional trade barriers and those that exist with the US. We have agreed that we’re going to have a common agenda in which we will support a common certification programme — sanitary and phytosanitary programme – that will ensure that all of us are operating on the same playing field and that the barriers to trade are removed. Transport and logistics is [sic] another important issue that was discussed,” he reported.
He also stated that climate change, climate resilience and sustainable agriculture, women and youth involvement in agriculture, financing and crop insurance were all important aspects of the agriculture and food security plan that were discussed.
The President noted too that even with the commitment for funding by the US Government, he has put forward a proposal to have an additional US$25M available to cater to women and youth in agriculture and sustainable technology in the agricultural sector.
“I put forward a proposal to have a further 25 million US dollars made available through grants and low-cost loans for women and youth in agriculture, especially for projects dealing with sustainability, technology, and resource like hydroponics. These are projects that will ensure resilience in the food- production system and encourage young people and women to participate.”
The sub-committees also discussed matters surrounding an integrated energy plan where proposals were put forward regarding a joint approach to ensure regional sustainability in the energy mix and energy framework that include natural gas, fossil fuel and renewables.
The Head of State noted that with Barbados, Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago being key players in the energy sector, he proposed that the US engage these countries in building a sustainable development strategy for energy security, not only for the region, but also for the US and farther afield.
President Ali also took the opportunity to update Vice-President Harris on key positions held by Guyana.
“I took the opportunity to update the Vice-President on all that we’re doing in Guyana in terms of food security, energy security, our responsibility and commitment and climate change. But more importantly, how our national development, strategy and framework aim at diversifying and improving not only our economic and financial base, but expanding our relationship with the US.”