Caribbean Talks Agriculture in Dominica

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - October 11, 2011

Above: CARICOM SG and Dominican native Irwin LaRocque in Roseau for talks (Photo: CARICOM)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

High-level talks have begun in Dominica at the Climate Change and Science Technology Workshop during the 10th Caribbean Week of Agriculture in Dominica.

The event was the opening ceremony of a week looking at trends and major issues in Caribbean agriculture.

“There can be no true food security without paying attention to the preservation of the environment,” said Dominican Environment Minister Kenneth Darroux. “For small island states like Dominica, this poses a particularly difficult challenge given our small and fragile economies.”

The forum also looked at the drastic flooding in Dominica at the end of September, which Agriculture Minister Matthew Walter called the worst in the country’s history.

“It means therefore, Dominica must adapt to reduce its vulnerability and mitigate its losses,” he said. “This is particularly true for the agricultural sector, which provides 20 percent of GDP and employs 35 percent of the population.”

Acting Prime Minister Ambrose George said that the fact that the region was holding its 10th Caribbean Week of Agriculture was an important milestone.

“[It] implies that we have made significant progress in ensuring that the bonds that keep us together at the governmental and institutional levels, albeit through difficult challenges, have grown stronger,” he said. “The agriculture sector is vitally important in the gamut of economic and social interactions of the region’s people.”

According to George, the negative impacts of climate change could mean a 5 percent reduction in GDP annually in the Caribbean, and with an estimated $4 billion extra-regional food import bill, the importance of climate change on Caribbean agriculture should not go unnoticed, he said.

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