Guyana was among 18 countries recognised at a special High Level ceremony at the Headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome, Italy for attaining the targets set by both the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Number 1 and the goal set by the 1996 World Food Summit for halving the absolute number of hungry people by 2015. Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett represented the Government of Guyana at this event.
The Achievement Award was presented to Prime Minister Hinds by the Director-General of the FAO, Dr Jose Graziano da Silva, who stated that based on FAO estimates, the Republic of Guyana achieved by year-end of 2012, three years in advance, the target set by the 1996 World Food Summit to reduce by 2015 at least half the number of people in the country suffering from undernourishment.
“We are pleased that the FAO has recognised Guyana as one of the nations to have met the anti-hunger targets. I wish to pay special tribute to the Director-General Mr. Jose Graziano da Silva and his staff, and I thank them all for their support,” stated Prime Minister Hinds after he received the award on behalf of the Government of Guyana. He expressed congratulations to those countries that have also made significant progress, and which like Guyana, have been awarded.
“As Guyana accepts this award, I wish to acknowledge that food security is not a single issue; it is an interdependent and interconnected set of issues involving agriculture, energy, the environment, government policy and for developing countries like Guyana, our overall growth and development,” the Prime Minister emphasised.
He added that as a nation, Guyana is proud to be so highly honoured by this Award. In this regard a special tribute must be paid to Guyanese women, and women worldwide, on this occasion. The PM praised the women farmers of Guyana who produce vegetables, herbs and spices, root crops, whether on small plots, in kitchen gardens or as workers on estates.
“I wish to give attention to the great task performed mostly by women – our mothers and grandmothers, wives and sisters, aunts and various relatives who provide the management of our households to ensure that healthy and nutritious diets are provided to thousands of families, rural and urban, in our country,” PM Hinds said. He emphasised that, as Guyana receives the award, he is conscious that the job is not yet over. “Until we have eradicated poverty – utopian as this may sound – where every citizen has access to enough healthy food, our job would not be completed…the Government of Guyana will therefore continue to invest in agriculture, expanding safety nets and social assistance programmes, and enhancing income-generating activities for the rural and urban poor to improve the food situation of the country, and ultimately the standard of living for our people,” he said.
Meanwhile, at the international level, Guyana stands ready to support initiatives which would complement its strategy on the transformation of the country’s agriculture sector.
[Photo of PM Samuel Hinds from http://www.caribbeanamericanforum.com/?m=201110.]