Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha has joined several other counterparts from the Caribbean region today at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) headquarters in Costa Rica. The purpose of this gathering is to engage with Manuel Otero, the Director General of IICA, to explore cooperation opportunities with Latin America and practically address the challenge of food insecurity in the region.

During the meetings, Mustapha and the other ministers will exchange perspectives and information on the agricultural sector’s outlook in their respective countries. They will also discuss ongoing and future actions by IICA aimed at enhancing productivity and resilience in food production within Caribbean nations, which are particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change.

Further, the meeting will feature a presentation by experts from the Public Policy Observatory for Agrifood Systems (OPSAa) on the key challenges facing agriculture and rural development in the Caribbean.

Among IICA’s 34 member states, fourteen are from the Caribbean, all of whom are actively working to reduce their reliance on food imports. Launched by IICA in 2022, OPSAa has proven to be a valuable resource in assisting countries in navigating uncertain and unstable times triggered by multiple crises.

This meeting is notably a prelude to the 43rd Regular Meeting of IICA’s Executive Committee, scheduled to take place on July 19 and 20 in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Executive Committee, one of IICA’s governing bodies, convenes annually and consists of 12 member states elected for two-year terms to ensure fair geographic representation.

Other ministers slated to participate are Agriculture Ministers from Antigua and Barbuda, Chet Greene; Barbados, Indar Weir; Dominica, Roland Royer; Grenada, Adrian Thomas; Haiti, Charlot Bredy; Jamaica, Floyd Green; Dominican Republic, Limber Cruz; St. Kitts and Nevis, Samal Mojah Duggins; St. Lucia, Alfred Prospere; St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saboto Caesar; Suriname, Parmanand Sewdien; Trinidad and Tobago, Avinash Singh; and Belize, Jose Abelardo Mai. David Cates, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Bahamas, is also expected to participate.

Minister Indar Weir of Barbados will assume the two-year chairmanship of the Executive Committee during this meeting, which will be attended by ministers and senior agricultural officials from across the hemisphere. Notably, the event will also witness the launch of the Hemispheric Initiative on Water and Agriculture, which aims to develop tools to mitigate the consequences of water deficits in the region.


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