Stakeholders must come Together to Address Food Security – FAO Representative


Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative for Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize, Dr. Dunstan Campbell, urged government and non-governmental organizations as well as other stakeholders to come together to address the issue of food security in Jamaica.
Citing reports, he said that “Jamaica produces enough food to feed everyone; this is good news. The bad news however, is that everyone is not fed.”
“We have to keep remembering that more food is not the answer; the answer is access to food, so therefore we have to work towards getting those who do not have access today, the access to food,” he stated at the FAO’s 2007 World Food Day Awards ceremony held recently at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston. According to Dr. Campbell, major stakeholders, including government and non-government organizations, have been mandated to focus on the human right to food “and come up with an agenda for moving the issue forward.”
“I must say that quite a significant amount of work is done here in Jamaica already with regards to this, but some more work has to be done,” he stated.
In the meantime, he informed that the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI), which has been leading the process in carrying out food assessment and food vulnerability analyses since 2004, is working on several projects that target specific interest groups, including persons most affected by poverty, low income households, and schools. He said the Institute is “now moving into the HIV/AIDS group, trying to provide nutritious food to this group of people.”
The FAO Representative also pointed out that healthy eating has been identified as a critical issue by the CFNI and could be a part of a new thrust for the award ceremony next year.
In the meantime, Grace Kitchens; food, nutrition and lifestyle consultant, Dr. Heather Little-White, and the Christiana Potato Growers Association, were specially recognized for demonstrating the creative use of affordable food items and the innovative use of technology, in keeping with the World Food Day theme: ‘The Right to Food’.
Other awards were presented to winning primary, all-age secondary and vocational institutions and homeowners in the Rural Agricultural Development Agency’s (RADA) school garden and backyard garden competitions.
Treadlight Primary in Clarendon; Claremont All-age in St. Ann; and Bellevue Primary in Trelawny, placed first, second and third respectively in the primary and all-age schools category; while Robert Lightbourne High in St. Thomas; Port Antonio High in Portland; and Westwood High in Trelawny, took the first three places in the secondary school category.
For technical and vocational institutions, Ebony Park HEART Academy in Clarendon placed first, followed by Dinthill Technical from St. Catherine and St. John Basco in Manchester.
The winning institutions walked away with cash prizes of $15,000; second place recipients, $10,000; while $8,000 went to third place holders. They also received certificates and trophies from the FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture.
In the meantime, Leety Bailey of Moneague, St. Ann was honoured for having the best backyard garden, while four-time winner, Lena Clarke of Mineral Heights, Clarendon and Suzette Clarke-Dehaney of Hanover, placed second and third, respectively.
The FAO awards for 2006 were also presented to the Santoy Farmers Group, a Hanover-based contract farming group that supplies hotels with food, and young agricultural entrepreneur, Luke Lee for his use of technology in farming.
The annual World Food Day Awards seeks to celebrate those schools, individuals and organizations from the private sector that have contributed toward food security, some of whom are using technology to address the issue.

JIS Social