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Caribbean criticised for failure to invest in agriculture

Published in Caribbean360, 4 Oct 2013

October 4, 2013

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday October 4, 2013, CMC - Guyanas Minister of Agriculture, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, has criticised regional governments for falling short on promises of greater investment in agricultural research.

Speaking at the opening of a regional media workshop to kick off Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) activities here, Ramsammy pointed to the fact that less than 0.1 per cent of the regions annual expenditure is devoted to research in the sector.

He cited lagging developments in the propagation of commercially-viable plant varieties and the search for alternatives to heavy reliance of harmful pesticides and fertilisers, the minister said research and development had fallen behind.

Ramsammy said this exists even though Caribbean governments say they are in pursuit of a hunger free region of the world.

He chided regional officials for slow development of a genetically-modified organism (GMO) policy and said though he would not state his personal view on the issue, such a policy was important if the region were to properly address climate change impacts on the sector.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony was Knowledge Management and Communication Programme Manager of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development, Thierry Doudet, who said it was important that linkages between the media and the agriculture sector were developed.

He said that a regional strategic framework to improve media coverage of the sector also relied heavily on capacity-building in the media and the greater engagement of media owners in the process.

The workshop is covering developments in a number of areas including the hot pepper industry, climate change and its impact on fish stock and the incidence of invasive alien species and the threat to biodiversity.

Read more: http://www.caribbean360.com/index.php/news/guyana_news/1026288.html#ixzz2guoDab3m