Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, June 21, 2022 – Invest Turks and Caicos Agency (Invest TCI), in collaboration with Digicel, The Office of the Premier and The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), hosted the President’s Luncheon – Collaborating for Capacity Development: Strengthening national capacities to establish and maintain food security partnerships as part of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank’s Board of Governors.
The luncheon took place on Wednesday, June 14th, 12pm-2pm at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Village and Spa, Key West Village. The luncheon brought together 50 attendees, including members of Government, MSMEs in the agricultural sector, representatives from major resorts, and the business community to hear from the Ministry of Agriculture and special guest speaker, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina; President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on the topic of food security.
In her address to the attendees, the Honourable Josephine Connolly, Minister of Agriculture, stated, “We have clear goals to achieve a level of food security as articulated in our Plan for Empowerment of our people. Our focus is on creating a strong, sustainable sector that would empower social development through, among other things, increased local food production. We have a thriving fishing industry, and our goals for sustainability, food production, and meeting growing local demands are the same in this industry.
Guest Speaker Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB, shared his view and lessons for the Caribbean from the AfDB’s experiences on food security during the luncheon. Dr. Adesina highlighted that in both the Caribbean and Africa, the negative impacts of climate change are felt in the agricultural sector and this, combined with looming shortages prompted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, threatens food security. He elaborated on the Bank’s use of technologies in the African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programme and its role in helping to deliver climate smart seeds to farmers in several African countries and in so doing, these countries have been able to get ahead of current wheat shortages. Under the TAAT programme, Sudan reduced wheat importation by 50% in two years, while Ethiopia was able to cut wheat imports altogether.
The AfDB also recently approved the $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility to help advance food security in the face of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Dr. Adesina stated, “We all agreed it is time to support Africa to produce its food. It is time to have food sovereignty. The same must apply to the Caribbean. A recent survey by CARICOM and the World Food Program shows that food insecurity has increased by 72% among the population of the English speaking Caribbean countries,” said Dr. Adesina. “Food aid cannot feed Africa. Food aid cannot feed the Caribbean. Africa and the Caribbean need seeds in the ground and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally,” he stressed.
Commenting on the event, CEO of Invest TCI Angela Musgrove noted, “The conversation on collaborating for capacity development to establish and maintain food security partnerships is not just an imperative but long overdue. Invest TCI was pleased to bring our small businesses to the table to be a part of the dialogue. As stakeholders, each of us has a role to play as we recognize the urgency for developing and transforming the agriculture sector in the Turks and Caicos to a level of self-sufficiency. My optimistic view is that it is not an impossible feat but one that can only be achieved if the energy created by each of us is channeled into making a collective impact for all of us.”
Invest TCI would like to thank its partners Digicel, The Office of the Premier, and the CDB for collaborating on this very important initiative.
For updates on Invest TCI events, visit our website at www.investturksandcaicos.tc or our social media pages at @investtci.
About Invest Turks and Caicos
Invest Turks and Caicos is the Islands’ Investment Promotion Agency, responsible for enhancing the economy through the attraction, growth and retention of overseas investment; and supporting the growth of local businesses.
We provide a free and confidential service to overseas businesses looking to expand and will work with a company project team throughout the investment process, providing advice and support. This can include:
- Information on the local business climate;
- facilitating contact with relevant Government Departments throughout the investment process;
- advice on Government incentives and concessions to investors;
- introductions to local service providers/suppliers;
- advice on work permits and permanent residency procedures;
- ongoing support following set up.
We also work actively to support the growth of local businesses, including the management and delivery of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise programme which provides concessions and reliefs to locally owned businesses.