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Regional Food Security: OECS Ministers of Agriculture to host Virtual Meeting on Impacts of COVID-19

Regional Food Security: OECS Ministers of Agriculture to host Virtual Meeting on Impacts of COVID-19

OECS Media Release

A special meeting of the OECS Council of Ministers of Agriculture will be held virtually on Thursday, 30 April 2020 under the chairmanship of the Honourable Saboto Caesar, Minister of Agriculture, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The meeting will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the region's agricultural sector and the imminent need for regional food security. Ministers will also discuss support to Member States to assist with cushioning COVID-19-related issues.

The declaration of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 11 2020 resulted in increased risk to global food production due to the expected impact on factors such as farm labor, transportation and hoarding by major global producers.

In this regard the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission is cognisant of the urgent need of the Member States to collaborate on strategic interventions aimed at mitigating and even reducing the level of food insecurity in the region.

Director General of the OECS, Dr. Didacus Jules, stated,

"COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the economies of the region.  We recognised from early on that there was also the possibility of a severe negative impact on the region’s food supply given our heavy reliance on food imports.  The Member States of the OECS – with St. Vincent and the Grenadines as our lead – has been on a structured path towards food security, import substitution and healthy food consumption.

As debilitating as the pandemic has been, it also provides us with an opportunity to completely transform our economies and to do many of the things that we have long aspired to do but have failed to address with urgency.  The meeting of Agriculture Ministers will give us an opportunity to review the work that has been ongoing and agree on measures to accelerate production (including community and domestic gardens), reduce imports, stimulate intra-OECS trade and improve nutritional status of our populations."

 

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Leshan Monrose OECS/FAO Programme Liaison, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Lench Fevrier Technical Specialist, Agriculture Unit, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
OECS Communications Unit Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Leshan Monrose OECS/FAO Programme Liaison, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Lench Fevrier Technical Specialist, Agriculture Unit, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
OECS Communications Unit Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
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The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is an International Organisation dedicated to economic harmonisation and integration, protection of human and legal rights, and the encouragement of good governance among independent and non-independent countries in the Eastern Caribbean. The OECS came into being on June 18th 1981, when seven Eastern Caribbean countries signed a treaty agreeing to cooperate with each other while promoting unity and solidarity among its Members. The Treaty became known as the Treaty of Basseterre, so named in honour of the capital city of St. Kitts and Nevis where it was signed. The OECS today, currently has eleven members, spread across the Eastern Caribbean comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Martinique and Guadeloupe. 

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