The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States has developed a plan to revive the region’s agricultural sector and reduce the amount spent on food imports, the Dominica government said Tuesday, as the Latin American Herald Tribune reports.
In the last 10 years, the seven OECS member-states have seen their collective bill for food imports double to $480 million, the government said in a statement.
“If you reduce your food import bill by $200 million in these debt-ridden times, that is money that you are saving. You have also greater national security because you are more self-reliant on your own food. That would also mean a great boost in rural unemployment,” OECS Director-General Didacus Jules said.
The OECS Council of Agriculture Ministers has developed a plan that calls for governments to give preference to produce from domestic farmers when purchasing food for school meal programs.
“It’s not just revitalizing agriculture in a vacuum; it’s about food security, improving the national nutritional profile, saving foreign exchange, boosting jobs in communities and it is an opportunity for us to begin restoring agriculture,” Jules said.
OECS comprises Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Montserrat. Martinique, Anguilla and British Virgin Islands are associate members.
For the original report go to http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2385443&CategoryId=14092