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Speech made by Minister Soeresh Algoe of Suriname at opening of CWA.

Posted in: Speeches by admin | 09 October 2014 | Release Ref #: 231/2014 | 2583

    Distinguish guests,
    On behalf of the President, Government and People of the Republic of Suriname, I hereby extend a warm welcome to all delegates and participants of this year’s Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) with the theme “Transforming Caribbean Agriculture through Family Farming”.
    The Republic of Suriname is honored to host this important event, considering the fundamental role of agriculture in accelerating sustainable development, especially for countries in this region. Therefore, the emphasis is on discussing the strategic issues regarding the future of our agriculture, not only for international food security strategies but more so for developing and enhancing our national strategies.
    The increase of our population requires more attention and innovation, now that herewith there is a growing demand to feed our people. The only solution herein is the appropriate use and development of the available resources in efficient and effective ways by applying modern agricultural methods, especially in countries like Suriname that has the basic conditions such as land space, fresh water, sun and other climatic conditions which are favorable to improve our agricultural production.
    Distinguish guests,
    Regionally, there are other countries, which also do have the potential of becoming significant agricultural producers. Developing these potentials will diversify the economies of the Caribbean and at the same time, contribute to the fight against famine in the world. During this Caribbean Week of Agriculture, Suriname intends to make a constructive use of this forum to emphasize the aforementioned.
    There is a high demand for agricultural products, also considering the growth in other sectors in our region such as tourism. However, at the same time we notice that a great deal of the suppliers of these products comes from outside the region.
    Colleagues, representatives and delegates it is therefore an actual challenge to the Caribbean region in substantially increasing her own contribution to the supply of food products for the Caribbean market. This implies that we should fully utilize our potential in agri-production, by directing more investments in this sector and especially in the existing human capital in order to facilitate and strengthen family farming.
    Right here in the region, there is a potential for growth and expansion in intra-regional trade and industry. In this regard, the implementation of a CARICOM Enterprises Plan, which focuses on mutual investments, provides both an opportunity and a solution.
    As Member countries of the Caribbean Community we should be open up for investments from our own region. This will put us in the favorable position to manage our own development, to make our region self-supporting in food, to increase our revenues in the region and to herewith strengthening the regional economy,
    Distinguish guests,
    It is common knowledge that the health of a nation is the wealth of a nation and public health depends on the availability of sufficient food of good quality. I believe that during this week the accessibility to food for every citizen of the region will also be an important topical subject. In this regard family farming provides an avenue for CARICOM member States to actively participate in raising food production as well as in changing food consumption and food security patterns in their respective countries.
    I would like to urge to all of you to contribute that the United Nation announce this day “ 8th of October as International Farmers Day”.  For us, The Caribbean Community, this day 8th of October, from now on should be celebrated as FARMERS DAY.  (I would like to ask you to stand up and applaud as a respect to this day for our farmers)
    Distinguish guests,
    CWA brings key stakeholders in the agricultural sector and policy makers of the Caribbean together to discuss and find solutions for bottle necks in the process of development. As I have been informed, our region distinguishes itself from others in such that annually there is a special week dedicated to agriculture. The activities generally include meetings, workshops, agricultural exhibitions and trade fairs, media activities, farmers’ meetings, and the hosting of other agricultural discussions, which foster collaboration among the stakeholders and are relevant to our needs.
    CWA has been recognized as a facility to place agricultural and rural development in a prominent position, so key public and private sector decision makers may endorse the strategic importance of the sector to economic growth, to social and environmental stability.
    Family farmers are part of the solution to produce more food – enough to feed 9 billion people in the world by 2050 – without growing carbon emissions.
    Suriname is firmly committed in achieving this common goal by becoming at least a major food producer of the Caribbean.
    In closing, I would like to express my gratitude to our regional and international partners, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Caribbean Agricultural Research Development Institute (CARDI) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific – European Union (ACP-EU) Technical Centre for Cooperation on Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA), for participating in CWA.
    A special thanks to the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries of the Republic of Suriname for their dedicated efforts to ensure the success of this CWA.
    I thank you and I’am sure that you will enjoy our special Surinamese hospitality and diversified culture during your stay in our beloved Country SURINAME.