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Tuesday, 06 November 2012

Amid Food Crisis, Caribbean Agriculture Going to Seed

With the average age of a farmer in the Caribbean now 62 years old, there is growing concern that commercial agriculture is on a path to extinction – a dire scenario for a region already shouldering a massive food import bill.
“Our region is faced with an aging farmer population. Analysis has shown that within the next 10-15 years, the production of food within the region will be seriously compromised if we are unable to attract young persons to the agriculture sector,” Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Ambassador Irwin Larocque said at the 11th Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) last month.
“The challenge is to make agriculture more attractive to them and convince them that such a career move is worth it. To do so, we must provide improved access to training at all educational levels from primary to tertiary. Larocque noted that soaring food prices are a continuing reminder that the region has no choice but to pay increased attention to food and nutrition security and cost-efficient sustainable production.
CWA, the main agricultural event in the Caribbean, was held under the theme ‘Celebrating Youth and Gender in Caribbean Agriculture.’ Over the course of the nine days, CWA drew policymakers and representatives of all key stakeholders in regional policies from across the Caribbean.

Source: IPS