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New Zealand government grants US$ 1.6 million to CARICOM towards reducing food imports by 25% by 2025

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2024. 2:08 pm CST.

Photo Credit: CARICOM

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is making strides towards its ambitious goal of reducing food imports by 25% by 2025, thanks to a generous contribution from the New Zealand government amounting to US$1.6 million.

This initiative, primarily focusing on women and youth in agriculture, was formalized through a Grant Funding Agreement signed by CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett, and New Zealand’s Plenipotentiary Representative to CARICOM, Linda Charlotte Te Puni, in Georgetown.

According to a CARICOM press release, the regional food security project, titled ‘CARICOM BOOST: Women and Youth in Agriculture’, is a testament to New Zealand’s commitment to bolster development cooperation with CARICOM.

“It is expected to see the use of protected structures and appropriate cold storage unit technologies in women and youth-led agriculture production,” the CARICOM statement said.

“The general aim of the project is to promote climate smart agriculture through sustainable agriculture production.”

Here in Belize, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise has been working on those same goals. Over the last two years, they have been receiving assistance from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to improve cold storage technologies for farmers.
Secretary-General Barnett expressed gratitude for a collaboration that promises to fortify the Region’s food security while uplifting its most vulnerable groups.

New Zealand’s Plenipotentiary Representative to CARICOM Te Puni highlighted New Zealand’s potential to offer further support in critical areas like food security, renewable energy, and disaster risk management, among others. The Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship Programme also stands as an avenue for Caribbean nationals to expand their knowledge and skills.

This grant is a follow-up to a new Cooperation agreement signed between CARICOM and New Zealand in June 2023, marking a significant step towards regional self-reliance and sustainable development.

 

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