From farm to fork: improving nutrition in the Caribbean

Researchers from universities in Canada and the Caribbean will discuss improvements in the region’s agriculture and nutrition during the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA2013): Linking the Caribbean for Regional Food and Nutrition Security and Rural Development, to be held in Guyana, October 4-12, 2013.
Since 2011, researchers from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago and McGill University in Canada have been working together to improve to improve food production in the region, as well as the nutrition and health of CARICOM populations.  The project is funded under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), a CA$124 million program that supports partnerships between Canadian and developing-country researchers to  increase food security through applied research in agriculture and nutrition.
The From farm to fork: improving nutrition in the Caribbean project seeks to address rising obesity rates in the region, due in large part to the limited attention Caribbean countries have paid to local food production. As a result, there is a high dependence on imports of high-calorie, low-nutrition foods. This has created a paradox of obesity and poor nutrition, which threatens people’s health throughout the region.
Results to date are promising. Children in Trinidad and Tobago and St. Kitts and Nevis are receiving improved school meals that contain vegetables and fruit produced by local farmers.  By adopting water management techniques such as drip irrigation and mulching, crop production has increased. Farmers have also diversified their crops. These and other research results will be presented during the two-day workshop Coming Soon: A Healthier, Food Secure Caribbean: Improving Nutrition and Health of CARICOM Population, Oct. 10-11.
IDRC will also participate in the CWA2013 exhibition and trade show. Journalists are invited to visit the interactive CIFSRF CARICOM Food Security Project booth to learn more about the work that the research teams are carrying out in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia.

Experts from IDRC, McGill University, and the University of the West Indies will be available for interviews before and during CWA2013.