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The Caribbean nations are committed to building the resilience of their agri-food systems to tackle the challenges they face, due to their vulnerability to climate-change related natural disasters, according to ministers from the region.

These high-level authorities from 14 nations in the region met with their peers in the wider American hemisphere at the Conference of Ministers of Agriculture 2021, which was held virtually, under the theme of “Sustainable Agri-food Systems, the Engine of Development of the Americas”, a release states.

“The world is facing many challenges and the Americas have its own challenges. Specifically, we in the Caribbean need to build greater resilience to climate-change related natural disasters”, said Indar Weir, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security of Barbados.

“In Barbados”, he added, “this year we have had to endure the passage of Hurricane Elsa and we are still in the hurricane season, so we must ensure that the entire Caribbean is protected”.

Weir thanked the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) for its work to achieve agricultural sustainability in the Caribbean and commended the Director General, Manuel Otero, for his re-election to head the organization for a second term.

Ron Dublin-Collins, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture of St Kitts and Nevis, explained that his country is seeking to transform agriculture to better position the sector to ensure food security. He said that, “We are making every effort. We know that the sector faces challenges and hope to continue collaborating with countries in the region and with IICA. We embrace hope and know that we can achieve our objectives”.

Also participating in the Conference was Carla Barnett, Secretary- General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)—one of the strategic technical co-operation partners of IICA—who emphasised that the Caribbean nations are attempting to transform their agrifood systems, while also boosting production resilience, in a bid to achieve a 25% cut in the high level of food imports by 2025.

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