Global food crisis could hit Caribbean’s millennium goals

April 20th, 2008 - 8:43 pm ICT by admin  

Georgetown (Guyana), April 20 (IANS) Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo has said global food crisis spurred by rising demand for bio-fuels and food grain shortages could hinder the Caribbean nations’ efforts to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. “This has the danger of creating severe dislocations and reversing much of what we have gained as a region,” Spain’s EFE news agency quoted Jagdeo as saying Saturday.

He made these comments while briefing the media on the launch of the Regional Agriculture Investment Forum (RAIF) scheduled June 6-7 in Guyana.

Jagdeo said: “The Millennium Development Goals are at risk which means more poverty and hunger. It is a major problem to the Caribbeans.”

The UN in September 2000 had set 2015 as a target for countries across the world to achieve eight development goals, which among others include reducing poverty, halt the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education.

RAIF will bring together government officials, private-sector representatives and bankers, who would discuss ways to maximise agricultural production through free movement of goods, capital and people under a unique scheme.

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) member nations have been affected by the rising costs of fuel, rice, flour, milk and other basic commodities despite tariff reductions on a range of food items which are imported from countries outside the bloc.

The governments of Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago have been urging investors to set up farms in Guyana and export the produce to fellow Caricom countries so as to reduce the region’s food import bill, estimated at more than $3 billion.

Caricom hopes that its Regional Agricultural Transformation Programme would attract more fund and support from Europe, the UN, agricultural development organisations in the Caribbean and financial institutions.

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