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Regional Agricultural Initiatives

Posted in: Regional News by admin | 20 January 2013 | 2783

    • Agri-business Strategy: Forging beneficial linkages with other sectors such as tourism continues to be an objective for the sector. The Agri-business Strategy recognises a non-traditional approach to the sector’s development, which reaches beyond the confines of the farm and into the factories, restaurants and hotels. One where the consumer is given a menu of choices that are appropriate to the lifestyles of busy, urban residents who cannot be expected to spend the time on food preparation that their grandparents did; in this vein, CARICOM Ministers endorsed a Plan of Action for Strengthening Regional Agriculture-tourism linkages.


    • A Regional Agricultural Information Platform: The role of modern information technologies in supporting all aspects of the sector was also emphasised, and ministers noted the progress to establish a Regional Agricultural Information Platform for the sharing of information among stakeholders in the agro-food sector.  In furtherance of the Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy and Action Plan  member states have  been preparing their national food and nutrition security actions plans, with the assistance of  the Food and Agriculture Organsation.


    • Regional Market Information and Intelligence System: The establishment of a Regional Market Information and Intelligence System for agricultural products has been on the Agenda for some time, and with the coming on stream of the Intra-ACP Agricultural Policy Programme, steps have already been taken to put such a system in place. The system will build on the work already done at the national level in some Member States. In addition, a Regional Agricultural Statistics Database will be created to bring together all the key statistics on the sector, thereby facilitating better access by producers and policy makers.


    • Eliminating  trade barriers: A project is currently being implemented aimed at eliminating the remaining barriers to trade in agricultural products and will focus on identifying measures such as non-conforming “sanitary and phytosanitary” regulations and import licencing controls, while instituting programmes for their removal. This will ensure, for example, that a food processor in any one Member State will be better able to access inputs from any other Member State without hindrance, and as a result, be able to forge stronger on-going linkages with primary producers in the rest of CARICOM.


    • Regional value chains: There is also a renewed regional focus on strengthening regional value chains built on specific priority products. Currently, regional programmes are being implemented for root and tuber crops (especially cassava and sweet potatoes), herbs and spices (in particular hot peppers) and small ruminants (sheep and goats). These projects recognize the need to integrate production, processing, marketing, and other down-stream activities into commercially viable and sustainable arrangements within which information (e.g. quantities and grades required) is effectively transmitted to the various points of the networks, resulting in more predictable outcomes.


    • Caribbean Week of Agriculture : The Caribbean Week of Agriculture CWA), the premier agricultural event on the Region's calendar, brings together stakeholders for a week of activities to promote agriculture and agri-industry via policy dialoguing, learning sessions, and an exhibition showcasing the fruits of the sector.