Guyana Minister lauds role of women in ensuring food security in the region
Guyana’s Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Jennifer Webster, says women’s empowerment must be seen as a catalyst for growth and diversity of CARICOM economies.
She told delegates attending the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) that women’s empowerment is a catalyst for developing any society, and more so in the Caribbean.
“This is probably a great understatement, when we look at the contributions made by our women to development, especially as it relates to food and nutrition security.”
She spoke of the differing sizes, population and economic conditions of small island developing states (SIDs) in the Caribbean and the Pacific regions.
“What they do have in common, however, are many similar disadvantages such as being small in side, with a narrow range of resources, fragile ecosystems, excessive dependence upon international trade, and high transport and communication cost.”
Webster said women in the two regions play fundamental and significant roles in coping with these challenges.
She said the response mechanisms enable women to continue to contribute to food and nutrition security, and ultimately to improve the social and economic benefit of their respective countries.
“As a matter of fact, women’s empowerment must be seen as a catalyst for growth and diversification of our economies.”
CWA is being held under the theme “Linking the Caribbean for Regional Food and Nutrition Security and Rural Development”.
Webster said that one cannot ignore the fact that women are rising to the challenge of food security even in the face of natural disasters, social and economic challenges and other vulnerabilities.
“As leaders, we are obligated to protect their right to do so. The prospects of women in agro-business in the Caribbean and the Pacific are “indeed promising,” Webster said adding, “and it is about time.
“The good news is that women in agribusiness are now the ‘new sexy’ in developmental circles. Women are being targeted for support under programmes offered by public sector institution, international development agencies, NGCs and large multinational private sector firms,” she said.
She however stated that new ways must be found to create new opportunities and expand existing ones “as we seek to promote more economic opportunities to support growth and development in the economies of our respective countries”.