Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2022. 10:01 pm CST.
Photo Credit: MAFSE
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Minister of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise Jose Abelardo Mai is to address 37th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean (LARC 37) on Wednesday.
LARC 37 is being held in Quito, Ecuador, but Belize’s delegation led by Minister Mai is participating virtually.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Country Correspondent, Armando Aban, said the LARC 37 is looking at the regional results and priorities referred to as the four betters (better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life) and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Minister Mai’s presentation is expected to concentrate on those priorities and on FAO’s work in Belize such as the interventions by the Mesoamerica Sin Hambre (Mesoamerica without Hunger) program, the school feeding program in Belize, and climate change resilience.
The FAO conference is presenting and analyzing the main results achieved by FAO in Latin America and the Caribbean during the 2020-21 biennium and is identifying priorities for the next biennium. At the last session (LARC 36), which was held in Nicaragua, FAO “requested that the Organization focus its work in the region on the agrifood and nutrition sector, rural populations and sustainable development, while prioritizing strengthened gender approaches, the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and people of African descent, youth and resilience”.
Aban said that when FAO Country Representative Crispim Moreira was in Belize from February 28 to March 4, the Government of Belize presented its request based on four areas. Belize asked for support to finalize the agriculture policy, the seed policy, the digital extension, and the digital village (an agricultural village with a tourism component). GOB asked FAO to support and finance the introduction of digital extension through the Technical Cooperation Program 2022/23.
Aban said that FAO has been quite busy in Belize funding the Agribusiness Incubation Project which started last year. Close to a hundred persons in the Cayo District were trained in agribusiness. Nineteen qualified to a next round and from that group five will be granted funds to develop their agribusiness by mid-September.
The school feeding program which started in 2016 is ongoing. There is also a program to improve infrastructure development in schools that have a school feeding program. Six schools are being assisted with funds from Amexcid, a Mexico government agency. Under the program school children will also be provided with a nutritional menu.
FAO is also assisting GOB in conducting a national school feeding assessment with the view to develop a national school feeding draft policy.
The Ministry of Agriculture maintains a good working relationship with FAO which is instrumental in strengthening national food and nutrition security while targeting efforts to improve the productivity and overall performance of the agricultural sector.
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