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Combatting poverty in CARICOM fishing communities

Combatting poverty in CARICOM fishing communities


It is estimated that tens of thousands of persons throughout the region continue to live in poverty, and in some instances, extreme poverty.{{more}}

And while our coastal and marine systems have provided us with significant benefits in the form of food, employment, foreign exchange and recreation, poverty still prevails in many fishing communities.

With this in mind, various stakeholders from around the region met for a two-day workshop beginning Wednesday, February 1, to study the draft of a diagnostic study report in determining poverty levels in CARICOM fishing communities.

During the two-day workshop, participants examined the recommendations and models for planning and implementing alternative livelihood programmes and to identify suitable socio-economic and demographic indicators to facilitate ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

Jennifer Cruickshank-Howard, Senior Fisheries Officer, said that it was also anticipated that the output from the workshop would be used to recommend proposals to the decision makers within the CARICOM region.

“And to identify those stakeholders and communities who should be targeted for technical and financial assistance by creating the enabling environment to facilitate empowerment, increase income, food, security and poverty reduction,” she said.

The study was conducted under the Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the Caribbean Community and was signed in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on July 4, 1999.

Executive Director CRFM Secretariat Milton Haughton, in his presentation, said that the matter presented was of great importance to the region in context with the governments looking to eradicate poverty and hunger as part of the millennium goals.

And while poverty was still a major issue for many fisher folk and their families, Haughton said that it was important that their livelihood be improved.

He contended that living and non-living organisms of the oceans which wash the shores of the islands of the region, once properly managed, presented great potential for economic growth and development.

“Not only in fishing communities but nationally, the fishing industry in the region has been a safety net providing numerous opportunities for the poor and dispossessed members of the community to find meaningful, dignified and satisfying employment,” Haughton said.

He, however, warned that even at the global level, there have been many initiatives aimed at reducing poverty that have failed to achieve its desirable goals.

“It is now widely recognized that poverty is a complex, multi-faceted issue that vary considerably from country to country and community to community,” he explained, adding that initiatives to tackle poverty must, therefore, be based on a comprehensive and deeper understanding of the extent and nature of the problem.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Montgomery Daniel said that the assessment is timely as it will provide much needed information to fishers and will provide socio-economic and graphic data.

He spoke of the local experience in saying that the local government had achieved a lot in its effort to eradicate extreme poverty. But that even though the level of indigent poverty had fallen, the country had to face numerous challenges.

He said that this was why it was important to create policies that fostered linkages across various sectors, especially those that linked agriculture.(DD)