Sustainable agriculture practices must be strengthened in face of climate change – Min Mustapha

Agriculture Minister
Zulfikar Mustapha

With the Caribbean being one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha has heightened calls for sustainable agricultural practices across all member states.
Regional leaders are currently engaging in discussions on climate-smart agriculture ahead of the 8th edition of the Caribbean region’s premier agricultural event, the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA), which will be held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from October 7 to 11. Delivering remarks at the virtual launch of the event on Friday, Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, who is also Chairman of the Caricom Special Ministerial Task Force on Food Production and Security, noted that agriculture is the backbone of the Caribbean, and climate change poses a significant threat to this sector.

Assistant Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Mario Lubetkin

“Agriculture is the backbone of our economies, cultures, and livelihood. It nourishes our people, supports our economies, and sustains our way of life. However, agriculture is very vulnerable to climate change, epically in the Caribbean” he said.
Minister Mustapha noted that governments should not only prioritise ways in which they can adapt to climate change, but emphasis must similarly be placed on identifying ways in which they can mitigate the effects of climate change.
Mustapha highlighted that to foster a sustainable future for agriculture, governments must continue to invest in identifying new climate-smart approaches.
“But let us not just talk about adapting to the impacts of climate change, we need to anticipate and prepare for them. We must strengthen our agricultural practices and systems (in order) to ensure and rebound from climate shocks. This calls for investments in research, infrastructure and resources for our farmers,” he declared.
“To realize a sustainable future for agriculture, we must continue investing in innovative, climate-smart approaches necessitating substantial financial support. This entails embracing new technologies, sharing knowledge, and fostering closer collaboration. The success of our regional agriculture transformation hinges on the partnerships we forge and the collective actions we undertake,” Mustapha has cautioned.
Also sharing remarks at this forum was the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mario Lubetkin,
who said the Caribbean and Latin American region has managed to reduce the number of people suffering from hunger.
According to Lubetkin, hunger statistics worldwide remained the same for 2021 and 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In 2022, more than 7 million people in the Caribbean experienced hunger. Although the situation is still complex, some progress in reducing hunger and malnutrition gives us hope. Latin America and the Caribbean was the only region in the world that remarkably reduced hunger, with about 3 million people fewer suffering from it,” he asserted.
At the forum slated for later this year, discussions would focus primarily on implementation of climate-smart agriculture to combat the effects of climate change in the Caribbean.