US$28m in food aid for Caribbean

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

In this file photo, a farmer carries a bag of fertiliser to his dasheen garden.

THE United States Government will provide US$28 million to boost food security in the region under a Zero Hunger Caribbean Plan, said a White House statement on Thursday.

“As follow-up to commitments at the Summit of the Americas, the US Government is providing the Caribbean with $28 million in assistance to address urgent food security needs.”

This came just after the Prime Minister and other Caricom leaders met US Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington DC, to discuss energy, finance and food security.

Those present included Caricom Chairman Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Guyana President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, and Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader. At the summit in Los Angeles in June, the US, Caricom and Dominican Republic set up three high-level action committees on energy security, finance and food security, which since held a dozen meetings.

The White House listed near-term actions on food security (to be followed by medium-long term actions.)

“This Fall (September-November), USAID will deploy five advisers to the Caribbean region. Consultants will be mobilized in the following areas: efficient use of fertilizer, bio-fertilizer production, nutrient management, crop insurance feasibility, and to develop an operational logistics and supply chain model to streamline intraregional trade.”

The US Environmental Protection Agency will conduct three training sessions on pesticide management and food security.

After launching a project in August 2022, USAID will help Caribbean officials to address non-tariff barriers that restrict the movement of food in the region.

“USAID will launch a climate adaptation project to incorporate climate smart technology into food production systems on/about December 2022.”

USAID is helping with a medium/long-term action plan to enhance regional food security.

The US Government wants to expand access to US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) financing for Caribbean private sector projects.

The US Treasury Department will explore US membership in the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

The Treasury will ask multilateral development banks (MDBs) to expand access to development finance for Caribbean countries by three ways. These are by possibly giving temporary access to World Bank Group resources for climate-vulnerable countries after extreme events, expanding MDB debt deferment, and doubling capital for the Inter-American Development Bank’s private sector arm.

“The US Government will elevate engagement with Caribbean nations to improve access to correspondent banking, including by convening a correspondent banking working group in Fall 2022, re-establishing the US-Caribbean Public-Private Bank Dialogue in late 2022/early 2023, and helping Caribbean nations establish a single bank to consolidate cross-border flows across the region.”

On energy security, the US Government will send a delegation to the region in October to develop technical assistance packages and prepare viable energy projects.

The US Trade and Development Agency will host an energy procurement orientation visit for Caribbean officials in October 2022 to support the region’s energy infrastructure development goals.

“The US Departments of Commerce and State will host a Caribbean regional trade mission as well as business conferences and round tables in October 2022 to facilitate executive-level matchmaking between project developers, technology providers, and government officials.”