Ministers of Agriculture to Meet in Montego Bay Oct. 25-31


Ministers of Agriculture from across the western Hemisphere, and other stakeholders in the sector, are scheduled to meet in Montego Bay, St. James, from October 25 to 31, for the ‘Week of Agriculture and Rural Life of the Americas’ Meeting.
The week’s main activities are the meeting of the Hemispheric Forum of Ministerial Delegates of Agriculture, the Fifth Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Rural Life, and the 15th Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA).
Activities for the week were launched today (July 28), at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel, in Kingston.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, said Jamaica was very proud to be hosting the meeting, in light of current food security concerns.
The Fifth Ministerial Meeting will be held under the theme: ‘Building Capacity for Enhancing Food Security and Rural Life in the Americas’. Mr. Stanberry argued that the theme was a timely one, as last year’s food crisis had shown that countries like Jamaica could not just depend on imported cheap foods.
“We have to undo all the years of under-investment in the sector, and we now have an opportunity to really build capacity,” he said.
Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, outlined that discussions at the Ministerial Meeting would focus on the challenges that countries face in promoting the development of agriculture, improving the standard of living in the rural population and achieving food security.
The current and potential contribution of the private sector to food security will also be discussed in the context of food imports, food production, agro-industry and technological developments.
Dr. Brathwaite informed that the meeting is expected to conclude with the adoption of a Hemispheric Ministerial Agreement, to be implemented by the countries of the region, with the support of IICA and other pertinent organisations.
Following that meeting, the IABA will hold its 15th Regular Meeting, during which a new Director General will be elected to lead the IICA during the 2010 to 2014 period. The IABA is the highest governing body of IICA.
The activities will bring together Ministers of Agriculture and other senior officials from IICA’s 34-member states; leaders of various entities; representatives of Spain, which is an associate member of IICA; and permanent observers, mainly from developed nations.

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