New FAO Official wraps up Official Visit to Antigua
12TH June 2019
New FAO Official wraps up Official Visit to Antigua.
FAO’s Sub-regional Coordinator for the Caribbean and FAO’s Representative to Antigua and Barbuda, Dr. Renata Clarke wraps up her Official visit to Antigua this afternoon (Wed).
Dr. Clarke was here on a two-fold mission. She presented her Credentials to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the Minister of Agriculture, as the new FAO Representative for Antigua and Barbuda earlier this week.
She said that the discussions held with these officials were interesting and the expectation is high for the FAO to be delivering efficiently with its partners.
“It is my job to make sure that we keep delivering,’ Dr Clarke reaffirmed.
Dr. Clarke noted that the second part of her visit here, focused on discussions with a number of Stakeholders to review the new priorities, as the Programme of Work that was agreed between Antigua and Barbuda and the FAO, is coming to an end.
“And now we are looking to understand what the new priorities are; where does the FAO have comparative advantage and where can we move the needle with the government of Antigua and Barbuda on Agricultural Development.”
The discussions were described as fruitful and interesting.
Dr. Clarke noted that coming out of these discussions, steps will be taken over the next few months to refine the proposed Programme of Work between the FAO and Antigua and Barbuda for the next four years.
The FAO Official further stated that during the meetings with key technicians within the ministry, it was noted that there is a lot of interesting work going on around Data and Information to support decision-making.
She believes that new technologies that are more respectful such as climate smart agriculture is critical, recognizing that Antigua and Barbuda is particularly challenged in relation to water resources.
There has also been some discussion held on Antigua and Barbuda’s involvement in international Fora such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
“So there is a lot on interest in raising awareness of the relevance of food safety to the agricultural development agenda as well as to the public health agenda.” Food safety and nutrition are very critical to public well being.”
Supporting small farmers in terms of market access was also another crucial area discussed according to Dr. Clarke.
“And this is on the domestic market and within that, is even the possibility of supplying institutional feeding programmes like school feeding, as well as better linkages within the hotel sector.”
Being on the job just a month ago, Dr. Clarke is on a swing through the region to visit the various countries that her office covers.
Antigua and Barbuda is the second country on her list of visits and she moves on to St. Kitts next.
Meanwhile, Senior Extension Officer, Owolabi Elabanjo said that he was pleased with how the visit went and the participation of the various ministries that are aligned with FAO activities.
“Like she has said, we just need to look beyond what we are doing now and review what we have done before, to see where the country programme framework can work for everybody and have a meaningful impact on our food security and nutrition.”