The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) was happy to join the global community to celebrate World Food Day, 2020. This year’s theme “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our Actions are Our Future,” puts into focus the need for collective actions, to ensure all people have access to safe and nutritious food at all times.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed very clearly that although the world is producing enough food to feed all 7 billion+ of us, widening inequality gaps are threatening the most vulnerable with hunger and malnutrition. In May, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) estimated that the number of people experiencing severe food insecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean, will increase from 3.4 million to 13.7 million throughout 2020.
COVID-19 has placed the Region’s food insecurity in the spotlight. As countries slowly embark on post-COVID-19 recovery plans, we must be mindful and fiercely guard against a hunger pandemic. As rebuilding efforts continue, it is important that plans are grounded in improving productivity, access and availability to safe, nutritious food, climate proofing the sector and preventing food wastage.
During the pandemic, the Institute continued to leverage our extensive network of regional and national partners to ensure the agriculture sector is productive, resilient and sustainable. We continue to be supportive of Governments initiatives which target vulnerable households to expand and improve emergency food assistance and social protection programmes.
The Institute ramped up the production of planting material for commodities such as sweet potato, cassava, corn and grain legumes. These were made available to farmers and farming communities across the Region.
CARDI recognises that availability and affordability to nutritious food must be a pillar in all countries developmental plans. In Belize, yield trials are ongoing to identify and select the most adaptable biofortified beans. These beans will be useful in delivering much-needed micronutrients to lower-income families, where nutritional needs are largely unmet across the Caribbean.
Our vision is to have a food secure region. We view this “as a shared responsibility and CARDI remains committed to working with all stakeholders to improve the Region’s self-sufficiency whilst, exploiting our full production potential in a sustainable manner,” says Executive Director, Barton Clarke.