PM Says Countries Must Prioritise Food Security

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), points out authentic Jamaican sweet treats to Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Dr. José Graziano da Silva (left) and Constitutional Vice President of the Dominican Republic, Special Ambassador of FAO, Dr. Margarita Cedeno. The items were on display at the opening ceremony for the FAO’s Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, on March 7 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says countries have an obligation to prioritise food security, which is a core component in improving the quality of life of their citizens.
  • The Prime Minister said he finds it disturbing that for the first time in two decades, hunger is on the rise in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • “If we are to achieve the goals and targets we have set out for our people, then it is important that we address hunger and malnutrition as well as rural development and climate resilient and sustainable agriculture,” the Prime Minister said.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says countries have an obligation to prioritise food security, which is a core component in improving the quality of life of their citizens.

He notes that studies have shown that it is when people have the physical, economic and social access to adequate, safe and nutritious food to meet their preferences and dietary needs for a healthy and active life that societies tend to perform best.

Mr. Holness was giving the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), on March 7 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

The Prime Minister said he finds it disturbing that for the first time in two decades, hunger is on the rise in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“We cannot achieve sustained growth and development with this troubling trend,” he argued.

“Within this context, as well as the realities of climate change impacting food production and increasing the region’s vulnerability, we also have increasing food import bills, among other things,” the Prime Minister noted.

Mr. Holness said the region is at a critical juncture where planning, as well as addressing the challenges and identifying solutions that will help secure food for generations to come, are essential.

“If we are to achieve the goals and targets we have set out for our people, then it is important that we address hunger and malnutrition as well as rural development and climate resilient and sustainable agriculture,” the Prime Minister said.

“Yes, we are at a crossroads in terms of food security, but the final destination has not yet been decided. We have the opportunity (and the duty) to ensure we reverse this trend of rising hunger. We also have the opportunity to reverse this trend of obesity and non-communicable diseases, and a key component is the lifestyle change that we are getting our citizens to embrace through the Ministry of Health’s Jamaica Moves campaign,” he added.

The Prime Minister emphasised that one of the best ways to promote rural development is to stem rural poverty, unemployment, and gender imbalances, while integrating climate-smart solutions in food-related policies and programmes.

“Let me reiterate that zero hunger is our final destination, and I am confident that we will meet this goal,” he said.

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