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UWI talks food security

drchelstonbrathwaiteWith concerns mounting over Barbados’ high food import bill, which is estimated to be around $700 million and growing, the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill is set to host a national seminar on food security.

It is scheduled for next Wednesday and Thursday at the Shell Suites, Cave Hill campus as one of the signal events marking the campus’ 50th anniversary.

Former Director General of the Inter-American Institute on Agriculture and chairman of the conference Dr. Chelston Brathwaite noted that in light of the ongoing recession and rising global food prices, discussions on food security and innovation in agriculture are now crucial to the island’s economic sustainability.

“This conference will provide an opportunity for farmers, governmental institutions, stakeholders and international agencies to assist in designing national strategies to support the new thrust for a higher level of food security in Barbados,” he said.

The keynote address at the conference will be presented by Professor Chandra Madramootoo, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill University, Montreal, Canada who will speak on “Global Food Security — Implications for the Caribbean”.

Among the topics for discussion will be a draft Food and Nutrition Security Policy, an action plan for Barbados and the state of food security in the nation. The meeting will also receive a status report on the proposed Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship at Cave Hill which received nearly 30 acres of land last year, part of which will house the centre.

The conference is being sponsored by the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, the Organisation of American States, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.

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