Posted: Monday, December 12, 2022. 10:49 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Agriculture Minister Jose Mai credits family-owned and run farms with saving Belize from economic ruin during the COVID-19 pandemic, and pledged along with other regional actors to support them at a recent regional conference in Santiago, Chile, according to The Voice of Saint Lucia.
Mai stated that “if it were not for the resilience of these producers, our economy would have contracted much more than it did, which was 14 percent by 2020”. He also thanked the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) “for consistently supporting the efforts of my ministry to maintain food security and thus support the most vulnerable people.”
The conference was hosted by the FAO at its headquarters and included the participation of ten regional ministers and deputy ministers, representatives from 24 other countries, and 200 delegates, along with those of the FAO, MERCOSUR, the Central American Integration System (SICA), government authorities and platforms of family farming organizations.
The group held dialogues on the progress of the plans and policies of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming and recommitted themselves to developing and implementing public policy agendas aimed at empowering family farmers because of their key role in eradicating hunger and poverty and mitigating the effects of climate change. Participants highlighted the need to strengthen family farming by increasing investment and budgets to build new rural development governance in Latin America and the Caribbean and emphasized more direct investment to combat inequality in the territories and provide society with healthy and nutritious food produced more sustainably.
Mario Lubetkin, FAO Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean stated, “Between 2019 and 2021 alone, hunger figures increased to more than 13 million people and poverty is projected to reach 201 million people and extreme poverty to reach 82 million people by 2022…. collaborative work is required to change this situation, and this must be led by the countries, through their institutions, to advance their priorities.” He also reaffirmed the willingness to “continue working with governments and all actors in the region, civil society, and academia, with our technical capabilities to facilitate initiatives that strengthen the bonds of integration and solidarity. I reiterate, this is your home”.
Host Minister Esteban Valenzuela added his thanks: “in Chile, there has been no lack of production by you, men and women.”
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