JIS News

World Food Day will be observed on October 16, under the theme: ‘World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bio-energy’.
The theme is aimed at highlighting the implications of energy and climate change for agriculture and food security. It focusses on the present and future impact, and adopting new strategies for the management of natural resources and the environment, encouraging adequate agricultural production and access to food, with a view to ensuring the food security of a growing world population.
“If ever a time we need to highlight it, the time is really now. Because, as you know, we have been in the midst of a crisis over a year or so, spiralling food prices internationally, driven largely by increasing conversion of food to fuel. And, of course, we are not only seeing that in higher food prices, but certainly in input prices, such as fertiliser prices, which we have had to grapple with in this country,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Donovan Stanberry, has said.
He was speaking on behalf of Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, at the official launch of World Food Day, at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens headquarters in Kingston on September 30.
Mr. Stanberry pointed out that the theme was very important, as it relates to global changes and as such, measures and programmes have been implemented to ensure that food security and the issue of climate change are top priorities throughout Jamaica.
“In terms of food security…a number of programmes have been implemented to bolster our own capacity to produce food in a consistent manner,” he said.
The measures which have been implemented or are to be implemented include: promoting protected agriculture (green house clusters), which are able to significantly increase production of selected fruits and vegetables; providing incentives to farmers to produce staples, including Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava, and rice; providing low cost interest loans to dairy farmers; increasing the number of extension officers to provide advanced technical information to farmers; providing more reliable marketing information to farmers; the adoption of modern farming techniques and equipment; and promoting backyard gardening and school gardening programmes.
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Representative, Dr. Dunstan Campbell, in his remarks said that, “World Food Day marks for us, a period of reflection and to take stock of what is happening in the world and more specifically, what is happening in the respective countries, such as Jamaica, and what are we doing with regards to our food security situation.”
He noted that initiatives have been launched on a phased basis to arrest the issue of soaring food prices around the world, adding that two have been dealt with thus far and as such, measures are being looked at to implement the third.
“Phase one actually addresses the present danger of the food crisis, and to make it specific to the region.and phase two addresses the issue of input supplied to the vulnerable farmers. We are in the process of negotiating with donors, so that we can upscale or move into phase three of this initiative of soaring food prices. In phase three, the aim is to address the fundamental problem facing agriculture,” he said.
The main objective of World Food Day, is to raise public awareness of the fight against world hunger, and to promote universal food security by mobilising the general public in support of the fight against hunger, under-nutrition, and poverty.
Activities to highlight World Food, Day will be held in Mandeville, including a National Church Service, at the Mandeville Parish Church on October 12, beginning at 10:00 a.m., a National Ceremony and Exhibition on October 16 at Manchester High School, beginning at 10:30 a.m., and a Farmers Forum at the school, starting at 3:00 p.m.