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Belize among three countries in the Caribbean producing more than fifty percent of its own food

Belize is being hailed for being among one of three countries in the Caribbean that produces more than fifty percent of its own food. At the opening ceremony of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of CDB, Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon, President of the (CDB) spoke about the bank’s push for greater food and nutrition security in the region. During his address, Dr. Leon discussed the importance of ensuring governments in CARICOM invest in their agriculture sectors to improve the standard of living for citizens in the region. Here is a snippet of that speech.

Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon, President, CDB: “For decades the Caribbean has been over-reliant on food imports. The World Bank estimates that between 80 and 90% of all food consumed in the region comes from abroad and only three countries in the region, Guyana, Belize, and Haiti, produce more than 50% of their own food. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities across the board including in employment, housing, healthcare, and food security. It is estimated that there are now 2.7 million food insecure people in the English Speaking Caribbean and according to the third round of the CARICOM COVID-19 Food Security and Livelihoods Impact Survey, 71% of respondents observed higher than usual food crisis. While a breakdown of responses by gender wasn’t presented by that survey, we know historically in this region, women are disproportionately affected by food and nutrition security. As a region, we must, therefore, focus on building a modern, competitive, inclusive, and resilient agricultural sector in which food and nutrition security have primacy of place and the potential for wealth creation as an attraction for young entrepreneurs.”