Guyana moves closer to establishing food security legislation
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp
FAO’s representative to Guyana Dr. Gilliam Smith
FAO’s representative to Guyana Dr. Gilliam Smith

–as stakeholder discussions begin

GUYANA has moved a step closer to having food security legislation, as the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Thursday commenced stakeholder discussions on a draft Food Security and Nutrition Bill.

An introductory workshop, which was the first of many to allow for the imminent enactment of the legislation in Guyana, was held at the Grand Coastal Hotel, and included representatives from the private and public sectors.

In her remarks at the opening of the workshop, FAO’s resident representative, Dr. Gillian Smith said the collective gathering will ensure co-ordination among all the various actors.

“Food security is not just agricultural production; food security is not just nutrition. All of these bits and pieces fit together, and when they fit together, well this is when you have food security,” Dr. Smith said.

She added that once the food security bill is passed in the National Assembly and assented to by the President, Guyana will be the first English-speaking country in the Caribbean to have food security legislation.

Ministry of Agriculture’s Director of Planning Natasha Beerjit-Deonarine

Guyana, Dr. Smith said, has already made tremendous progress in this area, as the country is currently leading CARICOM’s efforts at achieving food security, and reducing the region’s food-import bill by 25 per cent by 2025.

“Guyana has very much shown that they are leading CARICOM in food security for the region; very simply, the 25 by 25. The Caribbean region wants to reduce its food-import bill, which is one dimension in food security, and Guyana has been leading that,” Dr. Smith said.

She further noted that while Guyana is self-sufficient when it comes to food production, the country lacks the laws to ensure that produce meets the nutritional needs of Guyanese.

On this point, Dr. Smith said: “Globally, we are talking about food systems and being able to ensure that those global food systems that we have are meeting our nutritional needs, and that it is not reducing the natural resources that we have, and that it is resilient to shocks.

“This is a very important and progressive way to ensure that we are always sitting at the front of the cutting edge.”

Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel Joann Bond

Director of Planning at the Ministry of Agriculture, Natasha Beerjit-Deonarine said the ministry is keen on advancing its policies and making lucrative investments to ensure long-term food security.

“For the past two years,” she said, “the Ministry of Agriculture has undertaken several initiatives to improve the availability, access and the affordability of safe and healthy foods. On the supply side, these initiatives focus on increasing food production, implementing food feasibility systems, adopting climate-smart technologies, improving access to affordable inputs.”

Deputy Chief Parliamentary counsel, Joann Bond said the drafting of a Food Security and Nutrition Bill for Guyana is taking place at a crucial time in the country’s history.

Bond noted that the global pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine and Russia have highlighted the need for more stringent systems to be established, so as to ensure that every citizen is able to benefit from nutritious foods.

“We have been hearing a lot about food security, and we know that with the war that is currently taking place, as well as the impact of COVID-19, now more than ever, the global community needs to come together to develop systems, and to implement those systems to ensure that persons can have access to adequate food,” the Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on google
Google+
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on whatsapp
Scroll to Top
All our printed editions are available online
emblem3
Subscribe to the Guyana Chronicle.
Sign up to receive news and updates.
We respect your privacy.