CDB urged to support Jagdeo initiative

HALIFAX, Canada, May 30, 2008 – As governments continue their efforts to reduce the impact of rising food prices on citizens, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has been urged to provide support to the region in implementing the Jagdeo Initiative which seeks to achieve a resurgence of the region’s agricultural potential.

The call came from Guyana’s Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh at the CDB’s 38th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors which ended on Thursday. He encouraged the Bank to find ways to support and increase private investment in agriculture and food production.

“I wish to urge the Bank to examine ways in which it can provide timely support to activities consistent with this Initiative, with the objectives of increasing food production and supply, reducing inefficiencies in distribution networks, and dismantling other barriers that currently impede more efficient intra-regional trade in agricultural and food products,” he said.

The initiative is a process being spearheaded by Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo to enhance the positioning of regional agriculture in domestic and international markets.

It envisions that, no later than 2015, the sector would have significantly transformed its processes and products and stimulated the innovative entrepreneurial capacity of Caribbean agricultural and rural communities; and enabled the region to achieve an acceptable level of food security that is not easily disrupted by natural and or manmade disasters.

Guyana will also host the two-day Regional Agriculture Investment Forum from June 9 which aims to promote private investment in agriculture in the Caribbean.