Food Markets in the Caribbean Take Stock of Vulnerability during COVID-19 (Podcast)

The global coronavirus pandemic has made the Caribbean keenly aware of its need for greater food security.

By Jewel Fraser  (IPS)

HAVANA TIMES – The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the specter of food insecurity as countries and citizens fear a return to the conditions that roiled the international food markets during the 2008 economic crisis.

Though food markets have withstood the shock caused by COVID-19, the Caribbean is being forced to take stock of its vulnerability. The region spends $5 billion annually on food imports from outside the region to feed its 44 million inhabitants and regional governments agree there is need for innovation to reduce this dependency on foreign food supplies. Governments have been talking for years about using e-commerce to support the region’s agricultural sector.

According to the Food Sustainability Index, created by the Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), “governments also need to do more collaborating among themselves” to avoid a repeat of the food crisis during the 2008 economic crisis.

In this Voices from the Global South podcast, IPS Caribbean correspondent Jewel Fraser learns from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations how the global pandemic may yet shift the region’s focus in how it tackles food insecurity, while an e-commerce food retailer tells her how the Caribbean can make better use of technology to feed itself.



One thought on “Food Markets in the Caribbean Take Stock of Vulnerability during COVID-19 (Podcast)

  • Until the Castro regime realizes that productive agriculture is an industry, not a way of life for peasants farming 3 or 4 acres, all those hundreds of thousands of acres of good agricultural land will continue to lie fallow and reverting to bush.

    That wasted land could produce much of the food required in the Caribbean countries. As described in the article, there is a substantial local market both within Cuba itself and in the neighboring islands – how lucky can an industry be?

    But the dogmatic antiquated 19th century philosophy of Marx/Engels and the Stalinist interpretation of it, doesn’t merely inhibit development, it prevents it! European and North American agricultural businesses could develop an efficient productive agricultural industry in Cuba within two to three years.

    Cuba has the available people, some of whom could be trained for management roles and all those employed in the different functions would have an improved standard of living. All the regime has to do, is to open the door, stand aside and allow progress.

    That would necessitate allowing the businesses concerned to reward employees properly for their work, allow the market to determine prices and private businesses to retail in competition with the GAESA incompetents.

    But that is a pipe dream! Communism dictates and the “mass” suffer the consequences.

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