Jamaica’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Floyd Green has appealed to development partners to use development funds to reshape local financial structure and provide more capital to agriculture and agricultural innovators in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
“Our farmers in Small Island Developing States need access to investment capital, and a solution to this is using developmental financing to reform local financial systems so that they can finance agriculture on an ongoing basis,” said Green.
He was speaking at the two-day virtual SIDS Solutions Forum (August 30-31), co-hosted by FAO and the Government of Fiji. The minister was part of a panel discussion that explored partnerships and investments in agriculture, alongside the Fijian attorney-general; minister for economy, civil service, and communication; and minister responsible for climate change.
He stated that there is a need for development financing structures to be re-arranged so that SIDS are not just categorised as middle-income countries and, as such, cannot get concessionary funding. Instead, he argued, SIDS should be categorised based on their vulnerability, especially since some countries suffer most from climate change and adverse weather patterns..
“We can also look at utilising the technical expertise that we have at the international level to develop on a regional level, some diaspora bonds that can finance agriculture.” Minister Green stated.
He also pointed out the need for climate-smart financing to ramp up the irrigation infrastructure across the Caribbean and the need for storage and distribution models to strengthen the agri- food systems.
The first-of-its kind solutions forum brought together SIDS to explore solutions around the fundamental challenges that they have in agriculture and the agri-food systems. Representatives from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) also attended.