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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