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Liliendaal Declaration On Agriculture And Food Security

Posted in: Statements from CARICOM Meetings by admin | 06 July 2009 | Release Ref #: NA | 2708

    We, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community at our Thirtieth Meeting in Liliendaal, Guyana, 2-5 July, 2009, affirm our commitment to the principles and objectives of the Caribbean Community as embodied in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy -

    1. We recognize the multi-functional nature of agriculture as an important contributor to rural development, GDP, employment, export earnings and to the overall sustainable development of the Member States of the Caribbean Community;

    2. Recognising that agriculture is of strategic significance for the sustainable development of our Region, we have identified the sector as one of the drivers of economic growth and poverty alleviation of the Community;

    3. We acknowledge that the agriculture sector has faced overwhelming challenges in recent years;

    4. We recognise that the further development of the agriculture sector as elaborated in the “Jagdeo Initiative”, including in particular, production and productivity, competitiveness and exports, is inhibited by key binding constraints including a reduction in development support and investment. We further recognize that financing for agriculture development is proving to be the major limitation which is affecting the speed and effectiveness of dealing with the other constraints;

    5. In order for agriculture to continue to play a positive role in the Region’s economic and social development, there is need for a more concerted effort among all stakeholders in addressing the challenges facing the sector. Public sector/private sector partnership is essential. We are also aware that Governments must increase budgetary resources and implement other policy incentives to buttress the agriculture/agro-industry development agenda. It is also vital that the multilateral trading system take account of the special needs of small vulnerable economies in their quest to build and preserve their agricultural sectors;

    6. We also recognize the critical role of the fisheries sector to the livelihood and well-being of the coastal communities and its value to the food security needs of our people. We also recognize the economic benefits that can be realized from the sector.

    7. We further recognise that balanced development of rural areas and communities will ensure the retention of skills required to produce agri-products competitively and sustainably manage the natural diversity, thus ensuring the equitable distribution of income within the rural areas and between the rural and urban areas. We recognise as well that greater emphasis must be placed on the more vulnerable rural groups such as indigenous and other tribal peoples, youth and women to bring them into the economic mainstream;

    8. The 2007/2008 Food Crisis highlighted the urgent need to maximize Regional agricultural production to meet our food security and nutrition needs, address poverty alleviation as well as income and employment generation and ultimately our need to ensure that agriculture be recognised as a real generator of wealth. We recognize the need for a more coordinated framework in developing and implementing appropriate policies, programmes and incentives in support of the sector’s development agenda;

    9. In that regard we welcome the decision by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation to convene a World Summit on Food Security in November 2009 and look forward to participating fully and effectively in the Conference; and

    10. We further recognise the importance of effective agriculture health and food safety systems and sanitary and phytosanitary measures to our food and nutrition security.

    We, the Heads of Governments of the Caribbean Community therefore renew our commitment to pursue a strategic approach to transforming the agriculture sector into an internationally competitive sector with increased capacity to contribute to the sustained economic development of the Region, the economic livelihood of entrepreneurs, the rural sector and to food and nutrition security -

    1. To this end, we are committed to the provision of the necessary financial and other resources to ensure internationally competitive, market led production, and the identification and effective employment of the appropriate policies and strategies which will bring about the desired improvements to the sector including the agri-business sector. We call on our development partners to assist us in our efforts;

    2. We reaffirm our commitment to remove the following key binding constraints, identified in the Jagdeo Initiative, to the development of the agriculture sector and food and nutrition security including-

    (i) Limited financing and inadequate levels of new investments;

    (ii) Deficient and uncoordinated risk management measures;

    (iii) Inadequate research and development;

    (iv) Outdated and inefficient agricultural health and food safety (AHFS) systems;

    (v) Weak land and water distribution and management systems;

    (vi) Inadequate transportation systems, particularly for perishables;

    (vii) Weak and non-integrated market information and intelligence systems and

    (a) Weak linkages and participation of producers in growth market segments;

    (viii) Lack of skilled and quality human resources;

    3. We also recognize the challenge posed to small famers by the lack of adequate equipment.

    4. We affirm that the production of energy and biofuels from biomass must be increased in a sustainable manner so as to provide for our energy, economic, environmental and agricultural needs and does not compromise food security;

    5. We commit ourselves to provide farmers with adequate mechanisms to manage risks and market crises, and to establish early warning systems to anticipate disasters such as floods and hurricanes.

    6. We commit ourselves to strive against unfair competition and agricultural trade distortions providing farmers with new opportunities to sell their products on world markets and support their efforts to increase productivity and production;

    7. We agree that the priority Regional actions in agriculture on which we will focus will include -

    (i) Elaboration of the Community Agricultural Policy and regional Strategic Plan;

    (ii) upgrading of facilities and services for trade in agriculture products; strengthening national and Regional (collaboration in agriculture) research and development;

    (iii) establishing an effective regime of sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures including a Regional Agriculture Health and Food Safety System (CAHFSA);

    (iv) developing appropriate policies and incentives to encourage a stronger agriculture private sector;

    (v) development and implementation of a Regional agriculture market information and intelligence system;

    (vi) addressing the inadequacy of transportation to better enable the export of agriculture products;

    (vii) maintenance of a reliable information platform to facilitate monitoring and evaluation and to indicate priority areas for urgent action;

    (viii) Ensuring competitiveness in the agriculture sector;

    (ix) Ensuring that adequate land is retained for agricultural production; and

    (x) Encouraging the youth to become more engaged in the sector.