Innovation, digitisation key to achieving regional food security targets – Guyana Chronicle

Innovation, digitisation key to achieving regional food security targets - Guyana Chronicle

Innovation, digitisation key to achieving regional food security targets

President Dr. Irfaan Ali (Delano Williams Photos)

President Ali says, touts holistic plans to include more technology and data in agriculture sector
says more jobs for women and youth will be created

IN order for the Caribbean region to attain its regional food security goals, innovation and digitisation will need to be pivotal factors. In light of this, Guyana has proposed multiple initiatives to incorporate data and technology into its local food production industry.

The initiatives, which encompass the establishment of a proactive data system, a ‘situation room’, and innovative jobs for youths, were unveiled by President Dr. Irfaan Ali, on Friday, at the third regional Agriculture Investment Forum and Expo held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal.
Dr. Ali, while addressing the gathering of stakeholders, stated that the initiatives will add to the rich set of policies already established by the officials here to attract more youth and women

A section of the gathering at this year’s Agri. Investment Forum and Expo

“As we develop this holistic plan and it’s not just agriculture, it’s our food development system. It is our core development system where we are focusing heavily on women and young people,” President Ali said.

By the year 2030, he said all modern and innovative farms established to address the issue of resilience and sustainability will be owned by women and youth.
He noted that policymakers here will make critical investments to ensure that innovative jobs are created within the food, climate, and energy security sectors for young people.
In order to provide additional support, specialised training in the agriculture sector will be extended to youths from Guyana and other CARICOM states through a partnership with The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
“We are laying out a vision whereby we want to create innovative jobs for Guyanese, jobs of the future and we’re going to launch a programme where we want to have at least 3000 of our young people in these innovative jobs in the coming years.”

Meanwhile, to ensure that strategic investments are made, Guyana will establish a proactive information systems for farmers.
“We have recognised that technology gives us the opportunity to connect the farmers directly with extension officers instantaneously. And part of the innovative investment that we will make here is to create a proactive information sharing and response platform.”

With the sector’s growth in mind, he highlighted the importance of undertaking meticulous data analysis to ensure targetted investments are made to adequately support farmers.
“Today, food production and agriculture [are] changing globally. It is no longer guesswork, it is precise science. It is based on analysis of data. It is based on a timely dissemination of information.”

President Dr. Irfaan Ali along with other officials sampling juices at the third regional Agriculture Investment Forum and Expo being held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Liliendaal

He remarked that the establishment of a ‘situation room’ at the regional level will enable evidence-based decision making and proactive planning to drive production forward.
“What we have is commitment to the development of ideas and deployment of ideas to improve the lives of our people and that is what is key,” the president said.
In the coming years, he observed that crucial investments for the country’s development and competitiveness will be undertaken.

However, these will be accomplished through a balanced approach that connects food, energy, and climate security.
“We cannot delink food security and climate security that is why Guyana is proposing a new approach, a balanced approach and we have the credibility to speak about a global approach towards global development on energy, climate and food security,”