Mustapha, Todd to represent Guyana at FAO conference in Ecuador

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Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and Foreign Minister Hugh Todd

Every two years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) brings together governments of its 33 Member States in Latin America and the Caribbean to establish the regional priorities of the Organization for the next biennium.

From March 28 to April 1, 2022, all 33 countries are expected to attend the 37th Session of FAO’s Regional Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean (LARC) in Quito, Ecuador.

For five days, they will deliberate, reach consensus, make recommendations, and take necessary actions that will lead to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems.

Latin America and the Caribbean are committed to confronting and overcoming the most complex humanitarian, economic and social crisis in recent decades, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, hunger is affecting almost 60 million people, reaching its highest point in 20 years while 22 million people fell into poverty in 2020.

Meanwhile, food insecurity affects four of every 10 people totaling 267 million in this region, and climate change has become an inescapable reality.

Earlier this year, Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali disclosed that not only has the agriculture sector been a backbone of Guyana’s growth in the past, but it will remain a critical long-term stimulant for multi-sectoral development.

“We have been speaking at length about our plans in making Guyana not only as an agricultural hub, but a food production destination, and ensuring that our future economy is built on a strong foundation of food security, and more importantly, allowing our country to become a net exporter of food,” Dr. Ali had said.

The President also stated that his government has set out to transform food production into an “Agribusiness”, making it more competitive, diversified and far less susceptible to the damaging effects of climate change.

Aggressively working towards meeting the government’s vision for agriculture is Zulfikar Mustapha, Minister of Agriculture who will attend the LARC 37 together with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd.

At this conference, Minister Zulfikar will have the opportunity to share Guyana’s vision while discussing technological, institutional and organisational innovations with other Heads of Governments to find joint solutions to the challenges of food, agriculture, and climate change.

Countries will then establish the regional work priorities of FAO for the next two years and will review the results achieved.

Last November, Minister Todd presented Guyana as a candidate to host the 38th Session FAO’s Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2024. The voting and announcement of the next host country will take place at the conference in Ecuador and Guyana is hopeful that with the support of several Latin American and Caribbean countries, they will be selected to host LARC 38.

Remarking on the event, Dr. Gillian Smith, FAO Representative in Guyana noted that from March 28 to April 1, 2022, all 33 Member Countries of FAO in Latin America and the Caribbean, will send high-level delegations to the 37th Session of FAO’s Regional Conference (LARC) in Quito, Ecuador. During the conference, the countries will deliberate, reach a consensus, and set the agenda for FAO’s work in the region over the coming years. Ultimately, the countries will determine the necessary actions that will lead to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems.

Already rising to the challenges to achieving better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, this is an excellent opportunity for Guyana to showcase its achievements to the Latin America and Caribbean Countries.