Jamaica to Host FAO Regional Conference March 5 to 8

Photo: Mark Bell Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon. Karl Samuda (left), converses with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Representative for Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize, Dr. Gillian Smith, at the launch of the 35th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Ministry’s New Kingston office on Tuesday (February 13).

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica will be hosting the 35th Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean from March 5 to 8 at the Montego Bay Conference Centre in Rose Hall, St. James.
  • It will focus on four main areas – eradicating hunger, overweight and obesity; ending rural poverty; promoting climate resilient and sustainable agriculture; and creating a new FAO to move towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • “I think this a signal honour to Jamaica, because Jamaica is on the right path and we have the measures that are important to move agriculture forward in our entire region,” he said at a briefing held on Tuesday (February 13) at his New Kingston offices in St. Andrew.

Jamaica will be hosting the 35th Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean from March 5 to 8 at the Montego Bay Conference Centre in Rose Hall, St. James.

The three-day event is expected to attract ministers of agriculture, social development, education, health and environment and other high-level officials from the 33 FAO member nations across the Americas to discuss challenges and priority matters related to food and agriculture.

It will focus on four main areas – eradicating hunger, overweight and obesity; ending rural poverty; promoting climate resilient and sustainable agriculture; and creating a new FAO to move towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda said that Jamaica is happy to be hosting the regional conference.

“I think this a signal honour to Jamaica, because Jamaica is on the right path and we have the measures that are important to move agriculture forward in our entire region,” he said at a briefing held on Tuesday (February 13) at his New Kingston offices in St. Andrew.

“We welcome this opportunity, and we look forward to this tremendous exchange where the conference will give all of our colleague agricultural ministers and other very distinguished people from the Caribbean and Latin American region the opportunity to put on the agenda the concerns that they have, the ways in which they are approaching them, the strategies they think can assist, and the extent to which the FAO can be of help,” he added.

FAO Representative for Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize, Dr. Gillian Smith, said she is elated that Jamaica has agreed to host the regional conference.

She noted that this year’s staging is particularly important, because the region is at a crossroads in terms of food security.

Information provided by the FAO indicates that hunger has risen in Latin America and the Caribbean for the first time in decades, reaching 42.5 million, while obesity affects 96 million people.

Dr. Smith said that in addition to the rise in hunger and chronic non-communicable diseases, “climate change is affecting and exacerbating the issues that are related to our agricultural productivity and our production, and affecting the diversity of rural livelihoods that are available to our people”.

She noted that the organisation remains committed to collaborating with the people and the Government of Jamaica “to address fundamental issues relating to the country’s national development in the areas of food and nutrition, agriculture, rural development, fisheries, forestry, decent employment and social protection”.

“The FAO looks forward to working closely with Jamaica in the areas of overweight, obesity, agricultural production and productivity, and also resilience of our agricultural food systems from farm to fork,” she added.

The Regional Conference, convened every two years, helps to set the work priorities of the FAO in the region.

It was last held in Jamaica 50 years ago and last held in the Caribbean in the Caribbean in 1998.

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