Food and Agricultural Organization representative Reuben Robertson has warned that covid19 has "slowed global economic growth, created dislocation in the global economy, disrupted supply chains, resulting in the closure of some businesses, increasing unemployment and hikes in food prices.”
He was addressing graduates and guests at a graduation ceremony at the Faculty of Food and Agriculture, UWI, St Augustine.
He also cited recent reports from the joint discussion among the directors general of the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and World Health Organization that 40 per cent of the global population must be vaccinated by December 2021 and 60-70 per cent by June/July 2022 if the world economy is to return to a state of normality.
Currently, the G-20 countries have achieved 60 per cent vaccination, while disproportionally, the low-income and developing countries are at four per cent.
He said, “For us in the developing countries, our return to normalcy and some element of positive economic growth is significantly challenged with the current disproportionate distribution of vaccines among the developed countries vis-a-vis the developing and lower-income countries.” He noted that governments are finding it difficult to meet their monthly salary obligations owing to the disruptions and dislocations caused by covid19, which are limiting employment opportunities in both private and public sectors.
But Robertson also said, “The opportunities available for transforming our current food systems are limitless. The application of science, innovation and technology with smart leadership and partnerships can make a difference in your lives, that of your family, society and country."