Government Ministries have been asked to work with the major players in the sector to come up with ways to shield Barbadians from rising prices.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made this disclosure on Friday evening in her remarks at the opening ceremony for Agrofest, in Queen’s Park.
Ms. Mottley told the large gathering, which included the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, as well as local and regional Cabinet officials, that increased costs facing the population were “unsustainable and unacceptable”.
The Prime Minister shared: “I’ve asked the different ministries to start working yet again with the different players to see how we can contain these prices and how we can shield people where we cannot contain prices. Indeed, this is an effort that is being undertaken globally, and one only has to look at what happened in the United Kingdom with the Chancellor of the Exchequer [on Thursday] to understand that this is not a problem that is unique to the Caribbean.”
Ms. Mottley believes that Barbados’ relationship with Guyana, as well as mastering production, logistics and processing, would go a long way towards turning around the statistic that almost four out of every 10 people living in the Caribbean was food insecure.
“We believe that we are standing on a strong platform and that it is time now for us to move to the next level, especially as we face these multiple challenges that have confronted us over the last two years,” she underlined.
The Prime Minister continued: “That President Ali and Minister Mustapha (Zulfikar) have been able to move with lightning speed over the course of the last 18 months to put this region in a position where we not only endorse the plan in March in Belize at the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting, but were able then to meet in Guyana last week, in perhaps one of the largest agricultural investment fora ever to be held in this Caribbean region in the post-Independence era, is of significant mention for us.”
Meanwhile, President Ali insisted that food security must be looked at from a broader perspective given the different challenges the region faced. He contended that agriculture must be at the centre of all that we do, given the expected worsening of the current crisis.
“That is why we have to fix this and we have to fix this as a collective. We have to understand that the challenges that will come will impact us the most and our only tool to mitigate those challenges is increasing our own production, removing…the thoughtless impediments to trading between ourselves, the sharing between ourselves and opening up opportunities through which we can sustain ourselves in a reliable manner,” he proffered.
This year’s Agrofest exhibition is being held under the theme: Greening Together Ah Caribbean Thing.