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REGIONAL WORKSHOP FOR THE FORMULATION OF A REGIONAL POLICY FOR

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					     PROMOTING CARICOM/CARIFORUM FOOD SECURITY (PROJECT GTFS/RLA/141/ITA)
 (FAO Trust Fund for Food Security and Food Safety – Government of Italy Contribution)




                    THE FAO/CARICOM/CARIFORUM
                  FOOD SECURITY PROJECT – PHASE II




                    POLICY COMPONENT:
       RESULT I – AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT UNIT AT
         CARICOM SECRETARIAT STRENGTHENED



REGIONAL WORKSHOP FOR THE FORMULATION
         OF A REGIONAL POLICY
 FOR FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY IN THE
              CARIBBEAN

                     NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2009
PROMOTING CARICOM/CARIFORUM FOOD SECURITY (PROJECT GTFS/RLA/141/ITA)
       (FAO Trust Fund for Food Security and Food Safety – Government of Italy Contribution)

                       PROJECT COORDINATING UNIT (PCU)




                                           
                                Proceedings of the first 
                                           
                                           
     Regional Workshop for the Formulation of a Regional Policy
          for Food and Nutrition Security in the Caribbean
                                          
                                          
                                      held at 
                                          
                           Princess International Hotel 
                              Georgetown, Guyana 
                                          
                        30 November – 1 December 2009 
Executive Summary

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, with the support of the
Government of Italy funded FAO Project “Promoting CARICOM/CARIFORUM
Food Security”, organized the first “Regional Workshop for the Formulation of a
Regional Policy for Food and Nutrition Security in the Caribbean”, 30 November -
1st December 2009, in Georgetown, Guyana. A wide cross-section of experts
guided the strategy and process towards formulating a Regional Policy for Food
and Nutrition Security in the Caribbean (RPFNSC).

The need for a Regional Food and Nutrition Food Security Policy is recognized in
the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC), establishing the Caribbean
Community including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy(CSME) which
identifies “Food and Nutrition Security” (Article 56.1.b) among the goals of the
Community Agricultural Policy (CAP). Additionally the goal of “an acceptable
level of food security that is not easily disrupted by natural and or manmade
disasters”, was an important outcome of the consultative process of The Jagdeo
Initiative. Furthermore, the Heads of Government of CARICOM identified “food
security and sustainable development” as one of the main pillars of the Regional
Transformation Programme for Agriculture (RTPA).

More recently, the volatility of food and agricultural prices, the far-reaching
implications of the financial crisis and the structural changes to traditional
Caribbean agricultural exports have underscored once again the importance of
the evolving food security situation in the Region. The Liliendaal Declaration on
Agriculture and Food Security made at the Conference of Heads of
Government of CARICOM, July 2009, Guyana, recognized ‘that the 2007/2008
Food Crisis highlighted the urgent need to maximize Regional agricultural
production to meet our food security and nutrition needs, address poverty
alleviation as well as income and employment generation and ultimately our need
to ensure that agriculture be recognised as a real generator of wealth.’ The
Liliendaal Declaration also recognized ‘the need for a more coordinated
framework in developing and implementing appropriate policies, programmes
and incentives in support of the sector’s development agenda’.

To respond coherently to the related challenges Member States envisaged the
opportunity to reassess the focus of their policies, progammes and investments
at national and regional levels as, to date, the sparse and diffuse number of
punctual actions at national and regional levels have not added up to sustainable
food security for many people in the Community.

The two day workshop brought together 60 stakeholders from the public and
private sectors to share knowledge, experiences and opinions on the food
security issues facing the Region. At this workshop the stakeholders identified
the priority problems and constraints challenging food security in the region and
formed a common understanding on food security targets, policy goals and
research needs to address such challenges. They also outlined a course of
action and calendar to formulate the Regional Policy for Food and Nutrition
Security in the Caribbean (RPFNSC).

Workshop participants agreed on the draft definition of main and specific goals of
the Regional Policy for Food and Nutrition Security in the Caribbean (RPFNSC).
The Main Goal of the RPFNSC was formulated as follows:

“Assure for the people of the CARICOM/CARIFORUM, at all time, physical and
economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary
needs and preferences for an active and healthy life”

Specific Goals of the policy were identified in the following:

   •   Raising the living (wealth and health) standards of people, especially the
       poor and vulnerable;
   •   Promoting the sustainable production, commercialization and consumption
       of Affordable Quality Caribbean Food Commodities;
   •   (Enhancing the role of regional market and trade for producer/consumer
       needs);
   •   Improving the food and nutrition security resilience of the region to natural
       and socio-economic crises.

The Logical Framework Matrix (LFM) was recognized as the instrument to use
for further developing on the above and ensuing RPFNSC Results and Activities.
It was agreed that this framework should be shaped along the four dimensions of
food security (Availability, Accessibility, Use (Nutrition), Stability) with a focus on
access and nutrition.

The CARICOM Secretariat was recognized to play the leading role for the
coordination of the RPFNSC formulation and implementation phases, and ensure
synergies are captured from initiatives of development partner contributions to
the current policy formulation phase.

The workshop identified a technical working group (TWG) for the formulation of
the LFM of the RPFNSC, definition of the elements of the policy, preparation of
the related policy document(s), assistance and support for the collection of
information and documentation, as well as for carrying out related analyses, as
appropriate. The working group is to be lead by the Regional Policy Officer for
Food Security at CARICOM Secretariat and comprise CCS, FAO, IICA, UWI,
OECS, Belize, Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica, and BAS (representing CAFAN);
CFNI is being invited to join the group. The TWG will be working to prepare a
fully fledged annotated outline of the RPFNSC for discussion with stakeholders
during early 2010. A draft RPFNSC is expected to be presented to the next
Special Meeting of COTED (Agriculture).
Background

In February 2007, the Heads of Government of CARICOM identified “food
security and sustainable development” as one of the main pillars of the Regional
Transformation Programme for Agriculture (RTPA). In fact, the goal of “an
acceptable level of food security that is not easily disrupted by natural and or
manmade disasters”, was an equally important finding in the consultative process
of The Jagdeo Initiative.

Noticeably, the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC), which established the
Caribbean Community including the CARICOM Single Market and
Economy,(CSME) identifies “Food and Nutrition Security” (Article 56.1.b) among
the goals of the Community Agricultural Policy (CAP).

More recently, the volatility of food and agricultural prices, the far-reaching
implications of the financial crisis and the structural changes to traditional
Caribbean agricultural exports have underscored once again the importance and
evolving food security situation in the Region.

In light of these prior Community mandates and in the context of the evolving
food security issues in the Region, the CARICOM Secretariat considered the
formulation and implementation of a Regional Policy for Food and Nutrition
Security (RPFNS) as an important complementary and operational tool to assist
Member States and the Community in achieving food and nutrition security and
for formulating and implementing the CAP.

Introduction

In pursuance of its strategy and action programme to formulate and implement
the RPFNS, the CARICOM Secretariat, in partnership with Member States,
diverse stakeholders, regional and international organisations, and with support
from the FAO (through the Project Promoting CARICOM/CARIFORU Food
Security-Phase II), 1 organized the Workshop for the Formulation of the Regional
Policy for Food and Nutrition Security in the Caribbean.

Between 30 November - 1st December 2009, representatives of 13 CARICOM
Member and Associated States and experts from 10 regional and international
private and public sector organizations, a total of 42 participants, plus the
CARICOM Secretariat, met to:
    • share knowledge, experience and opinions on the salient food security
       issues facing the Region;
    • identify the priority problems and constraints, including institutional, socio-
       economic and political factors that have thwarted the operationalisation of
       the aforementioned initiatives;
1
 . The Project is funded by the Government of Italy and is part of the FAO Up-Scaled Caribbean
Regional Programme for Food Security.
   •   contribute to forming a common understanding on food security targets
       and on what a related policy for food security should strive for;
   •   determine additional analyses or activities to be undertaken as part of the
       process; and
   •   outline a course of action and calendar to formulate, garner support for
       and approve, fund and implement the RPFNS.

See attached:
  • List of Participants
  • Concept Note
  • Agenda

Proceedings

Opening Remarks

The Workshop was opened by welcoming statements of H.E. Amb. I. La Rocque,
Assistant Secretary General - Trade and Economic Integration Directorate,
CARICOM Secretariat, H.E. Dr L. Fletcher-Paul, Representative in Guyana ,
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, and H.E. Hon. R. Persaud,
Minister of Agriculture, Guyana.

Excellencies addressed the audience to the importance of food and nutrition
security as a pillar for peoples’ peace and welfare, and as a fundamental human
right. Nevertheless, they remarked that, in spite of all efforts spent, the number of
undernourished, at global level, even augmented. In the Caribbean, in 2009
about one in every four persons is undernourished. This making the number of
malnourished persons in the region at 7.6 million (including Haiti), which is the
same as in the beginning of the nineties.

Noticeably, they stressed that food security in the region was compromised not
by lack of food availability, per se, but by inadequate access to food and dietary
patterns that adversely impact on nutritional status. Significant inequalities in
income distribution remain, leaving ample shares of vulnerable population in
poverty. Worse, evidence of worrying levels of undernutrition occur as the total
food calories availability in the region exceeds the recommended population
goals, coupled with dietary habits that lead to the emergence of non-
communicable diseases.

The pertinence of the workshop and the overall effort towards the formulation of
a Regional Policy for Food and Nutrition Security was recalled in the light of the
Community mandates, where the goals of the Community Agricultural Policy, as
enshrined in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, is “improved income and
employment opportunities, food and nutrition security, and poverty alleviation in
the Community”. And the Liliendall Declaration renewed the commitment of the
Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community “to pursue a strategic
approach to transforming the agriculture sector into an internationally competitive
sector with increased capacity to contribute to the sustained economic
development of the Region, the economic livelihood of entrepreneurs, the rural
sector and to food and nutrition security”.

Food availability was pointed out as depending on imports making the food-
import bill very costly as some 50% of the regional food need was imported.
Henceforth, also in the light of the Liliendaal Declaration it was recommended
that the promotion of food security make use of efforts towards the maximization
of Regional agricultural production to meet food security and nutrition needs,
address poverty alleviation as well as income and employment generation and
ultimately ensure that agriculture be recognised as a real generator of wealth.”

Presentations

Following an introductory note by the CARICOM Secretariat, experts from
member states and regional and international organizations delivered
presentations on the following subjects (presentations are available as
attachment):

REVIEW OF FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY POLICY MEASURES:
  • Situation Assessment, P.T. Perri, FAO
  • Overview of Vulnerability and Food and Nutrition Security in the
     Caribbean, H. Fitzroy, CFNI
  • Case Study: National Experiences to Address Food and Nutrition Security
     - Belize
     - Dominica
     - Guyana
     - Jamaica
     - Montserrat
     - Suriname
     - OECS

OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIC APPROACHES OF THE REGIONAL POLICY
FOR FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY IN THE CARIBBEAN:
  • CARICOM Programmes:
     - Overarching Agricultural Initiatives, M. Kalloo, CARICOM Secretariat
     - Community Agricultural Policy, G. Barret, CARICOM Secretariat
  • Crosscutting Nature of Food and Nutrition Security, J. Tefft, FAO
  • Youth and Gender Issues in Food and Nutrition Security, B. Joefield and
     A. Kassim, CARICOM Secretariat


THREATS TO FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY IN THE CARIBBEAN:
  • Review of the Economics of Climate Change in the Caribbean, C. Gomes,
    ECLAC
    •   Implications from Current Trade Negotiations, N. Durrant, CARICOM
        Secretariat
    •   Finance for Investments in Food and Nutrition Security, V. Little, IICA

PRIORITIES OF THE REGIONAL POLICY FOR FOOD AND NUTRITION
SECURITY IN THE CARIBBEAN:
  • Barriers to Access to Food, P.T. Perri, FAO
  • Food Security Preparedness Strategy, J. Tefft, FAO
  • Priority Commodities for Food and Nutrition Security, R. Best, FAO
  • Risk Management in the Region, R. Yearwood, CDEMA

Discussion
The discussions took off from remarks over the opportunity to consider the FAO
definition of Food Security2 as the one of reference. The holistic nature of this
definition along with its components (availability, access, use/nutrition, stability)
was recognised as exhaustive of the issues at stake in the debate.

Food availability
Extensive attention was dedicated to agricultural production as a means to
promote Food Security. It was felt that there is an urgent need to create new
capacity and increase production and productivity of the agricultural sector, with
special attention paid to small farmers. Indeed support to small farmers was
recognised as key to the promotion of food security in the Region.

Notably, the value chain approach adopted by the FAO Project was recognised
as appropriate to fostering the capacities of sector and it was mentioned that it
could very well be extended to the entire list of priority agricultural commodities of
the region.

The food import bill of the Region was recognised at levels of concern and it was
recognised that resources could be more efficiently allocated for increasing the
agricultural production of the Region, allowing for promotion of food security,
while reducing the burden of the food import bill. It was recommended that
support and recommendations to the agricultural producers be further based on
dedicated analyses for decisions to make full use of productive capacity. It was
remarked that resource allocation in agricultural production must focus on
selected commodities (starting from the Regional priority list for agricultural
commodities) and take into account issues of competitiveness and consumption
patterns. Noticeably, the opportunities and initiatives to change consumption
patterns in favour of domestically produced food items (like staples such as root-
crops and fruits) will take time. Such initiatives will require awareness campaign


2
 Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to
sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an
active and healthy life – World Food Summit, 1996
and substantial price reductions (and productivity gains) of these food items as a
basis for success.

Noticeably, it was recognised that efforts in reducing the food import bill should
be matched against the cost that would be related to reducing food imports that
might ultimately impact at the consumer level. Politicians were cautioned to take
decisions in this respect pondering the full spectrum of pros and cons throughout
the whole sectors of the economy.

Agricultural development (and the related multiplying positive effects on
employment and income, as well as economic growth in general) was addressed
as a condition without which food security could not be promoted in the region.
The opportunities arising from making full use of the agricultural production
potential within the region were addressed (Belize, Jamaica, Guyana, and
Suriname were mentioned as the food baskets of the region). Nevertheless, the
meeting was cautioned against related misconceptions, as it was not proved
straightforward that individual member state demand could count on a readily
available supply from the Region.

Food accessibility
The Region was recognised as constrained by unacceptable poverty levels,
income inequality, poor communication/marketing media, and poor storage and
transportation infrastructures. It was noticed that the issue of food prices (which
reduce the ratio of wages to prices), constrain the ability of the population,
especially the poor and vulnerable groups, to purchase food and basic non-food
items. Noticeably though, the attention of the participants was brought to the
need to aim at “affordable quality food” availability (possibly from the Region),
rather than cheap, usually less nutritious, food (eventually imported).

Poverty in the CARICOM was remarked as still being a rural problem, although
this position was challenged by the debate over the evidences of rising urban
poverty. Landless, job-less prone, urban dwellers have been increasingly falling
into poverty pockets making shares of the urban population vulnerable to food
insecurity and less resilient to crisis than rural population. Therefore it was
highlighted that to address issues related to poor household accessibility to food
requires identification, mapping and analysis of the food insecure groups.
Analysis requires consideration of issues related to household income and/or
command over resources, price levels, and the distribution of poverty.

Agricultural development was mentioned as driver to escape from poverty for its
multiplying positive effects on employment and income, even targeted by its
“rural” nature to vulnerable groups. Nevertheless, the participants were pointed to
the evidences of a downward trend in GDP growth in the agricultural sector and
related yields.
Food Consumption/Utilization (Nutrition)
Food security in the Region was recognised as compromised also by unbalanced
diets, resulting in a high prevalence of food-related diseases. This was linked to
unavailability and inaccessibility to appropriate foods, as well as an inadequate
food-nutrition-health promotional effort. The latter aspect was thoroughly
discussed, with emphasis placed on enhanced knowledge and education of
households and individuals as an important avenue for addressing the nutrition
component of food security.

Availability of “affordable (nutritious) quality food” and awareness over the
appropriateness of its use were mentioned as unquestionable ends to strive for.
Noticeably, it was remarked that a large percentage of food grown in the
Caribbean was actually healthy and nutritious and could help eliminate food-
related diseases, if made available and affordable to the aware consumers.

Noticeably, the lack of infrastructure, procedures and standards for food quality
compliance were addressed as issues in need of urgent improvement to enhance
the technical and operational capacity of the Region to ensure the circulation of
healthy and safe nutritious food produces.

Food Stability
The issue of stability was viewed in the context of the threats to the Member
States (food availability) and households (food accessibility) food security
occasioned by natural and socio-economic crises (infrastructure, capital loss,
yield loss and employment loss, under-employment). The recent food-price crisis
and the current world-wide recession, but also the occurrences when an
hurricane (or another disaster like a flood) strikes a Member State, are harsh
reminders of the need to be alert to (i) guard against reversals in food security-
gains made in the past, and (ii) monitor impacts of trends and shocks on
livelihoods that are vulnerable to food insecurity in the region.

Climate change adaptation and mitigation were addressed as major themes of
concern and discussed in relation to a call for including improving risk
management among the Regional agricultural policy objectives. Given the high
probability of occurrence in the Region of “systemic” risks (drought and floods) as
well as catastrophic risks, it was noticed that insurance markets would be difficult
to define as premiums would likely be unaffordable. Between risks that are
frequent but do not imply large losses (that can be managed on the farm also
trough insurance schemes or the market) and catastrophic risks that are
infrequent but generate a large amount of damage (that lead to market failure)
there are intermediate risks for which some insurance or market solutions can be
developed. Notably, the more a risk is fully systemic the less difficult it is to pool
inside the sector. In this respect, it was mentioned that instruments should be
devised to pool together the mass of farmers to leverage insurance coverage.
This means that policy actions should enable correlations among farming risks to
be exploited empowering farmers to take responsibility for risk management.
Notably, the relevance of the availability of a reliable information base was
underscored, identifying in this the space in which the regions should rapidly
progress.

Various actions related to applications of risk adverse agronomy techniques were
mentioned by participants, and the coordination among growing seasons within
the countries of the Region was identified as a step towards a more stable
regional supply of food. Constraints were identified in the lack of data and in the
lack of mechanisms for data and information sharing.

Noticeably, concerns were expressed on the recognition of an aging farmer
population trend, while youth were developing a disinterest in agriculture. A
solution proposed by the participants to address this need, was modernising the
sector.

Policy Recommendations and Working Groups Outcomes

Food security in the region was recognised as compromised not by lack of food
availability, but by inadequate access to food and dietary patterns that adversely
impact on nutritional status.

Workshop participants agreed on the draft definition of main and specific goals of
the Regional Policy for Food and Nutrition Security in the Caribbean (RPFNSC).
The Main Goal identified was: “Assure for the people of the
CARICOM/CARIFORUM, at all times, physical and economic access to
sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and preferences
for an active and healthy life.”

Specific Goals were agreed to be composed of, but not limited to:
  • Raising the living (wealth and health) standards of people, especially the
       poor and vulnerable
  • Promoting the sustainable production, commercialization and consumption
       of Affordable Quality Caribbean Food Commodities
  • (Enhancing the role of regional market and trade for producer/consumer
       needs)
  • Improving the resilience of the region to natural and socio-economic crises

The Logical Framework Matrix (LFM) was recognized as the instrument to use
for further developing the elements of the policy and ensuing Results and
Activities. These should be shaped along the four dimensions of food security
(Availability, Accessibility, Use (Nutrition), Stability) with a focus on access and
nutrition.

The CARICOM Secretariat was recognized as the lead organization responsible
for the coordination of the RPFNSC formulation and implementation phases.
Therefore partners’ contributions to the current formulation phase of the RPFNS
will be guided by the recommendations of CARICOM Secretariat.
The workshop identified a technical working group responsible for the formulation
of the LFM of the RPFNSC, definition of the elements of the policy, preparation of
related policy document(s), providing assistance and support in the collection of
information and documentation, as well as in carrying out related analyses, as
appropriate, and serving as a mechanism for introducing empirical evidence-
based analyses produced by regional analytical organisations into the policy
formulation process. The working group would be led by the Regional Policy
Officer for Food Security at CARICOM Secretariat and is composed of
representatives of FAO, IICA, UWI, OECS, Belize, Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica,
BAS, in addition to the CARICOM Secretariat. It was also decided to invite CFNI
to join the group.

Notably, it was highlighted that the formulation process should also serve to
mobilize the critically needed political support of member states so that the policy
is translated into concrete actions and supported by the availability of funds for
their enduring implementation. In fact, the importance to foster member states’
national policies for food and nutrition security, and the way they integrate into
the regional policy, was also soundly remarked and support in this respect
recommended.

The cross-cutting nature of Food Security was widely recognised and it was
recommended that sectors and stakeholders other that agriculture (finance,
trade, education, health, etc.) be involved/ included in the process of formulation
of the Regional Policy for Food and Nutrition security.

There are issues related to trends of food production, import and consumption,
which leave the population increasingly dependent on foreign food sources,
leading to reduced opportunities in rural areas, and resulting in less healthy
consumptions patterns as fresh fruits, vegetable and root-crops are substituted
for imported products. In a Region importing up to 50% of its food consumption
needs, Caribbean Regional Food Security is as much related to food
consumption patterns and lifestyles of the Caribbean people; making of major
relevance the partnership among a wide range of stakeholders, not just in
agriculture, but in health, nutrition, education, trade and social policy.

It was agreed that regional food security cannot be the remit only of the
agriculture sector. Rather, it must be an integral part of policies and strategies of
several sectors of the economy. The strong links between agriculture,
health/nutrition, education, trade and other sectors were recognised and regional
food security was acknowledged to be the result of the collaborative partnership
of many sectors. At the very minimum the agriculture, health, trade and
education sectors must form a multi-sectoral partnership to attain food security in
the region.
The implementation of an awareness campaign was recommended as crucial to
foster nutritious food consumption, and address consumption pattern to
regionally produced food. In fact, it was highlighted that a large percentage of
food grown in the Caribbean was nutritious and therefore if consumed, in addition
to helping to reduce the incidence of NCDs define, could contribute to minimising
the food import bill. Support to the agricultural production from the region was
therefore recommended to be included in the policy, with special attention to
small farmers, for the potential of and synergies between the food basket
countries’ of the Region maximised, to ensure local produces be ready to meet
the challenge of a rising demand of quality food.

Efforts towards building-up on information availability and sharing were also
addressed as crucial. It was recommended that a food security internet portal for
information sharing be created (that could be channelled through
www.carapn.net). Also it was recommended that the Regional Policy for Food
and Nutrition Security should be endowed with an inbuilt mechanism to identify
who are the vulnerable to food insecurity, how many there are, where they are
located, and why they are food insecure, in order to better address what can be
done to allow vulnerable people to emerge from food insecurity.

It was also recommended that the policy carries a twin-track approach to food
security including short-term emergency and long term development measures.
Examples of such approach were mentioned recommending to devise an instant
regional disaster response plan, next to insurance schemes pooling farmers
together to leverage insurance coverage.

The Way Forward
The TWG will be working to prepare a fully fledged annotated outline of the
RPFNSC for discussion with stakeholders during early 2010.

The aim is to have a draft policy for presentation to COTED on the occasion of
the Caribbean Week of Agriculture in October 2010. The calendar of activities to
this end, foresees numerous meetings and teleconferences of the TWG, to
analyze and discuss the elements of the policy, its annotated outline and prepare
the related zero draft for validation at a workshop in the first semester of 2010,
for the draft to be submitted to COTED to be ready by summer 2010.

				
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