Central America and Caribbean Price Bulletin, January 2017

January 31, 2017

The Central America and Caribbean Price Bulletin for January 2017 is provided by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). FEWS NET monitors trends in staple food prices in countries vulnerable to food insecurity. For each FEWS NET country and region, the Price Bulletin provides a set of charts showing monthly prices in the current marketing year in selected urban centers and allowing users to compare current trends with both five-year average prices, indicative of seasonal trends, and prices in the previous year. 

Download the bulletin at:http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Central_America_2017_01_PB_EN.pdf.

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CENTRAL AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN Price Bulletin, December 2016

January 03, 2017

The CENTRAL AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN Price Bulletin for December 2016 is provided by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). FEWS NET monitors trends in staple food prices in countries vulnerable to food insecurity. For each FEWS NET country and region, the Price Bulletin provides a set of charts showing monthly prices in the current marketing year in selected urban centers and allowing users to compare current trends with both five-year average prices, indicative of seasonal trends, and prices in the previous year. 

Download the bulletin at: http://reliefweb.int/report/guatemala/central-america-and-caribbean-price-bulletin-december-2016

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Investment Seminar Presentations (Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2016)

December 30, 2016

During an Investment Seminar held during CWA in 2016 in the Cayman Islands a series of presentations by regional experts were made under the theme “Towards an Investment Strategy for Food and Agriculture". Browse the links below to download them.

Meeting Agenda: “Towards an Investment Strategy for Food and Agriculture", October 26, 2016

"Investment opportunities in the herbs and spices industry", Caribbean Agribusiness Association

Investment Profile Enhanced: Small Ruminants, Presented by CARDI in Collaboration with IICA and FAO

Agricultural Investment in St. Lucia, Andrew McHale, CEO, Invest St. Lucia

The Development & Implementation of a Regional Investment Promotion (IP) Strategy, Caribbean Export

Roots and Tubers: The Case for Investment

Experiences of the Private Sector in Investment Promotion and Facilitation in the Region, by Komal Samaroo, Chairman, Demerara Distillers Ltd. Guyana

Towards an Investment Strategy for Food and  Agriculture: View from the Diaspora by Oscar E. Spencer, Institute of Caribbean Studies

View from the Diaspora, by Percival La’Touche, President,The Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents (Jamaica)

Capturing Opportunities in Agribusiness: Duxton's global experience and track record, Duxton Asset Management

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2016 Q4 ITC Market Analysis Services Update available

December 19, 2016

The fourth Quarter International Trade Centre (ITC) Market Analysis Tools Newsletter is now online: http://mas-admintools.intracen.org/newsletters/2016-Q4-Market_Analysis_Services_Update.pdf

Highlights:

  • Summary of ITC’s work in Non-Tariff Measures and how we bring transparency to trade and give SMEs in 67 countries a voice;
  • The launch of Export Potential Map, the evidence-based solution to support trade policy decision makers;
  • Market Access Map updates in trade remedies and Non-Tariff Measures data particularly for India;
  • How do universities in Peru and Mexico help local exporters thanks to their Trade Map knowledge;
  • 10 Video tutorials for EuroMed Trade Helpdesk to help users navigate through the portal now available online;
  • Trade information workshop in Lesotho to improve the collection, analysis and circulation and dissemination of trade intelligence under Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF);
  • Trade for Sustainable Development (T4SD) expanding work scope on environmental issues, CHOCOTHON initiative, new data on Standards Map, latest publication and watch out for Sustainability Map in 2017!
  • Get the latest ITC Tools updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Spotlight On Youth Agri-preneurs

October 17, 2016

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Monday October 17, 2016 – Organizers are putting the final touches on preparations for the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA), the region’s premier agriculture event, to be held in the Cayman Islands in exactly a week.

Ten young entrepreneurs will be exhibiting at the Youth Pavilion during the October 24-28 event.

Here’s a look at what some of them are doing:

Duhaje Jennings – Dada B’s, Jamaica

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DUHAJE JENNINGS, OWNER OF DADA B’S.

Duhaje Jennings has been making bees his business for nine years. And his aim is to make his bee production business, Dada B’s, one of the Caribbean’s largest agricultural producer and food manufacturer.

Jennings, whose business has 10 apiary sites, says his mission is to provide value-added agricultural products in response to a growing world-wide demand.

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He sees vast potential for expansion both locally and overseas.

“The current strategy is to increase production to take on larger markets,” he says.

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Most of the products are sold wholesale to middle men who supply hotels. The remaining products are sold to supermarkets and small shops.

 

Anastasha Elliot – Yaphene, St. Kitts & Nevis

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OWNER OF YAPHENE, ANASTASHA ELLIOT.

Anastasha Elliot is owner of Yaphene, a modern apothecary and gourmet boutique. The business makes organic hair and skin care products using natural butters, oils, dried and fresh herbs.

Yaphene also creates fruit and vegetable jams, flavoured hot sauces, loose tea mixes, candles, herbal breads and novelty cakes and gourmet desserts.

Yaphene was created to provide a natural alternative to everyday hair and beauty products. Its vision is to become the premier natural beauty product producers on the island of St. Kitts. Elliot says the business’ mission is to create the most holistic product, integrating local natural herbal remedies.

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“We understand that more and more of our people are succumbing to diseases such as cancer, which studies are showing has its roots in many of the products we not only eat but also what we are putting on our skin and in our hair,” she says.

“Our mother once had cancer and she beat it by changing our eating habits, creating the products we use among other herbal remedies and she has been cancer free for over 20 years. With a success story such as that behind us, we have a natural impetus to create and to offer what we create to our people, so they too may be able to live a little greener, healthier…with at least once aspect of their lives as free from chemicals as possible. We are starting out selling locally first and plan to spread out throughout the region over the next years.”

 

Kellyann Allicot – Ibis Beauty Box, Barbados

Ibis Beauty Box is a modern, natural botanical skincare line and lifestyle brand that embodies the rich heritage of the Caribbean. The inspiration for Ibis Wellness Inc. stems from the indigenous and local Caribbean flora and the urge to create an extraordinary natural, organic and life style brand.

Allicot says her vision was to create a natural and pure skincare line and accessories that embody the rich heritage of the Caribbean’s traditional beauty and lifestyle regimens, while simultaneously reconnecting people back to nature. She believes this is needed to accomplish total well-being.

“The creation of the skincare line began with my own personal skin battles with eczema as my family and I suffered from the skin condition. The first concoction was formulated by blending natural indigenous herbs in my very own kitchen. The embryonic stage that gave birth to the modern botanical skincare line that exists today,” she says.

The name behind the brand was chosen to pay homage to the scarlet Ibis spotted on a rare occasion in St. Andrew, Barbados. Allicot believes it is a unique bird that exemplifies the magical beauty of the Caribbean and the healing powers the islands have to offer.

 

Jean-Sebastien Duvilaire – Tahomey, Haiti

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Tahomey is a food processing business that sells Haitian cacao and the spices that usually go with it, such as ginger and cinnamon. The business has been in operation for approximately three years.

Tahomey products are made in Abricot, and marketed mainly in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

According to owner Jean-Sebastien Duvilaire, the main collaborators in the business are farmers who are assisted in the pre-processing of the cacao. They, in return, to provide their best quality cacao to make the chocolate product.

“As the owner and chief chocolatier, I take responsibility for quality control,” says Duvilaire.

When questioned about plans for sustainability, Duvilaire said the key was in the quality of the product being offered and the way in which the environment is affected.

“Our work contributes to the value chain of cacao in Haiti and also encourages reforestation in our region which represents the first environmental concern in Haiti,” he says.

 

Graceson John – Big G’S Pepper Sauce, Dominica

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GRACESON JOHN AND HIS PRODUCTS.

Big G’S Pepper Sauce specializes in flavoured pepper sauces, seasoning sauces and salad dressings. The business started in April 2014, creating and developing more than 21 different innovative and creative flavors of pepper, for example coconut, cinnamon, coffee and turmeric.

Owner Graceson John revealed that the business started to supply supermarkets in January of 2015 and also personal exports in the Caribbean. In the past two years, Big G’S pepper sauce has won numerous awards, namely the Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2015 and the Regional Start Up Entrepreneur Award 2015 in the Youth Business International Regional Awards.

“I choose this business because of my love and passion for cooking and I also major in agriculture science at the Dominica State College…I have also won a few cooking awards in the past, for example, the president’s dinner plate competition 2012 and 2013,” John says.

When asked what to expect from his exhibit at the CWA, he said patrons should be prepared to see the most innovative and creative flavoured pepper sauces in the Caribbean and also all-purpose sauces and seasoning sauces.

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Making Agriculture “Climate-Smart” in Latin America and the Caribbean

October 12, 2016

SHARON GOURDJI, UCS SCIENCE NETWORK, UCS | OCTOBER 11, 2016, 4:23 PM EDT

I recently returned to the United States from Cali, Colombia where I worked for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (or CIAT, its Spanish-language abbreviation) for a couple years. CIAT is part of a global network of 15 agricultural research centers in the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research), which have traditionally focused on crop breeding to raise yields of staple crops around the world. 

At CIAT, I managed the Crop and Climate Modeling group in the Decision and Policy Analysisdivision, where we focused on improving seasonal climate forecasting for agriculture and estimating longer-term climate change impacts on crops in Colombia and the wider Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region. The goal was to produce actionable information using the best data available, and then work directly with decision-makers and farmers to tailor scientific results to local needs.

Global climate change due to greenhouse gases, along with regional land-use change, is already leading to hotter and drier conditions across a large portion of the LAC region, particularly in the Caribbean, Central America, northern Colombia, Venezuela, and other parts of northern South America. In these areas, farmers are reporting more erratic rainfall and increasing drought conditions in their fields, while historical data and projections from climate models show temperature increases of up to 3°C from the 1980s to the 2030s.

Inter-annual climate variability has always been a concern for farmers; however, there is evidence that the weather extremes are becoming more extreme and losses are increasing. For example, in Colombia, the 2010-2011 La Niña episode led to massive flooding, landslides and crop losses, while the 2015-2016 El Niño led to record-high temperatures, water shortages, and crop failures in the north of the country.

recent study* completed by our Crop and Climate modeling group for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) shows that projected climate change from the 1980s to 2030s alone would have decreased yields of maize and dry bean (important crops for food security and income) by up to 50% in the Caribbean, Central America and northern South America. However, crop yields throughout Latin America and the Caribbean grew spectacularly in the last half-century due to widespread adoption of improved crop varieties, increased fertilizer use, better management and consolidation of land holdings.

It may now be the case, however, that climate change has started to slow yield growth for some crops and areas, e.g. in Central America. For maize, reported national yield growth data from recent decades does suggest that actual yields are beginning to level out or even decline in the areas expected to face the greatest impacts, particularly in low-income countries like Jamaica and Haiti.

Projected climate change impacts (1971-2049) for maize from Gourdji et al. (in prep) on the x-axis plotted against reported national maize yield growth from the FAOSTAT database (1971-2014) on the y-axis. The red line is the fit from a simple regression showing a significant negative relationship between estimated climate change impacts and reported yield growth rates at the national scale. The orange line represents the same significant relationship that remains after accounting for national GDP per capita levels (averaged from 2000-2014) and fertilizer growth rates (1971-2013) in a multi-linear regression. Since the estimation period (1971-2049) is almost halfway over, we can see that yields are still growing despite the estimated negative impacts from climate change. This is because new varieties, more inputs, etc. have been able to overcome the negative climate impacts thus far.

Projected climate change impacts (1971-2049) for maize from Gourdji et al. (in prep) on the x-axis plotted against reported national maize yield growth from the FAOSTAT database (1971-2014) on the y-axis. The red line is the fit from a simple regression showing a significant negative relationship between estimated climate change impacts and reported yield growth rates at the national scale. The orange line represents the same significant relationship that remains after accounting for national GDP per capita levels (averaged from 2000-2014) and fertilizer growth rates (1971-2013) in a multi-linear regression. Since the estimation period (1971-2049) is almost halfway over, we can see that yields are still growing despite the estimated negative impacts from climate change. This is because new varieties, more inputs, etc. have been able to overcome the negative climate impacts thus far.

One approach CIAT has taken to help farmers adapt to long-term progressive climate change and inter-annual climate variability in Colombia is to encourage “climate-smart agriculture” in partnership with the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture. A key focus of this effort has been to develop tools to generate seasonal climate forecasts before each growing season, develop weather scenarios consistent with those forecasts, and then use the resulting weather scenarios in crop models to create “agro-climatic forecasts” for end-of-season yields. With these modeling tools, scientists suggest optimal sowing dates and crop varieties before the growing season even starts to help reduce losses in bad weather years and take advantage of good years. The seasonal agro-climatic forecasts are then discussed in agricultural round-tables to generate two-way feedback between scientists and farmers, and hopefully exchange useful information.

Figure 1: Rainwater harvesting project in Nicaragua, 2012. Credit: Neil Palmer, CIAT.

Figure 1: Rainwater harvesting project in Nicaragua, 2012. Photo: Neil Palmer, CIAT.

One success story for CIAT and the Ministry of Agriculture was a suggestion for rice farmers to not plant in the north of Colombia at the start of the El Niño period in 2015. This advice saved these farmers from large economic losses as the season progressed and drought conditions worsened. Another way that CIAT has promoted climate-smart agriculture in the region is through the development of rainwater harvesting projects in Nicaragua, where water stored during the rainy season can be used to irrigate a third crop in the dry season with sunny and cool conditions. CIAT has also been involved with local partners in efforts to preserve soil moisture, prevent erosion, reduce deforestation, and mitigate climate impacts through agroecological methods, like quesungual in Honduras, that replace slash-and-burn with “slash-and-mulch” methods that maintain tree cover.

The Latin American and Caribbean region is diverse in terms of farming systems—compare industrialized large-scale soybean production in southern Brazil with small-scale, low-input dry bean production in Honduras and Nicaragua. Though these systems are different from one another and require different management strategies attuned to the local socioeconomic context, scientists in many countries can learn from CIAT’s efforts to promote climate-smart agriculture for staple crops in Colombia. By embedding themselves in local decision-making processes and working with local partners, researchers can help to improve the resilience of the agricultural sector to both climate variability and change. Sustained funding for international agricultural research will be a necessity in the upcoming decades as climate change impacts start to become more severe and noticeable across the globe, and scientists can and should do more to demonstrate the value in the investment.

*Gourdji, S.M., J. Mesa-Diez, D. Obando-Bonilla, L.P. Moreno-Cadena, C.E. Navarro-Racines, M. Fisher, S.D. Prager, J. Ramirez-Villegas, “Near-term impacts of climate change on yields of five major crops across Latin America and the Caribbean”, article in preparation.


With an undergraduate degree in mathematics, Sharon Gourdji completed her Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the University of Michigan, where her dissertation focused on using geostatistical inverse models to estimate carbon sources and sinks. Her more recent work lies in the field of climate change and agriculture. She first visited the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia through a Fulbright exchange visit in 2013, collaborating on a study about climate change impacts on maize and dry bean in Nicaragua. She then led the Crop and Climate Modeling group at CIAT in 2014-2015 before returning to the US. Most recently, she is back to improving carbon monitoring techniques in urban areas with the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Orginal article at: http://blog.ucsusa.org/science-blogger/making-agriculture-climate-smart-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbean

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How technology can help nations navigate the difficult path to food sovereignty

October 12, 2016

Bamidele Adekunle, University of Guelph

As the movement of people across the world creates more multicultural societies, can trade help communities maintain their identity? This is the question at the heart of a concept known as “food sovereignty”.

Food sovereignty has been defined as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods” and, critically, the ability of people to own their food systems.

Culturally appropriate food refers to the cuisine eaten by a certain group, which reflects their own values, norms, religion and preferences. It is usually dynamic and may change over time.

In my journey across different food landscapes, I have discovered that people consume food not just to satisfy hunger but for cultural, religious, and social reasons. And I have learnt that there are ways that international trade can help facilitate this.

How trade affects cuisine

My journey was shaped by my experiences examining the preferences of people from Afro-Caribbean descent, South Asians and Chinese people in the Greater Toronto Area of Canada.

The Chinese have a huge palate for bok choy, chinese eggplant, and gailan (also known as Chinese broccoli). South Asians love okra, bitter melon and eggplant. People of African descents tend to love okra and amaranth (a leafy green vegetable), at times substituting the latter with spinach because of scarcity.

The interesting thing about these groups is that they share a lot of food in common, though the preparation may differ.

This makes sense: o of my main findings has been that everyone’s cuisine has been affected by migration and trade. This pattern is ever more pronounced in the contemporary world, as people explore and learn from other cultures by including other food traditions in their own cuisine.

Enriching food culture

The integration of cultures does not negate culturally appropriate food, it enriches it. London’s curries are a result of migration, and in Nairobi the inclusion of channa (chickpea) and chapati (flatbread) in the diet is a result of the Indians trading and settling in the region.

Cultural groups have different definitions of good or appropriate food. The elite (who can afford it) and people who are environmentally conscious, for instance, believe in organic or local produce; Jews eat kosher food; and Muslims eat halal.

The challenge lies with making sure food is appropriately labelled – as organic, local, kosher or halal – and the key here is the authenticity of the certification process.

It can be quite difficult to trace the origin of certain foods, whether they’re produced locally or internationally. This educates consumers, allowing them to make the right choice. But it may be an additional cost for farmers, so there is little incentive to label.

The case for transparency and authentication

To ensure that trade allows people to have access to authentic and culturally appropriate food, I recommend a new, digitised process called “crypto-labelling”. Crypto-labelling would use secure communication technology to create a record which traces the history of a particular food from the farm to grocery stores. It would mean consistent records, no duplication, a certification registry, and easy traceability.

Crypto-labelling would ensure transparency in the certification process for niche markets, such as halal, kosher and organic. It allows people who don’t know or trust each other to develop a dependable relationship based on a particular commodity.

If somebody produces organic amaranth in Cotonou, Benin, for instance, and labels it with a digital code that anyone can easily understand, then a family in another country can have access to the desired food throughout the year.

This initiative, which should be based on the blockchain technology behind Bitcoin, can be managed by consumer or producer cooperatives. On the consumer end, all that’s required is a smartphone to scan and read the crypto-labels.

The adoption of blockchain technology in the agricultural sector can help African countries “leapfrog” to the fourth industrial revolution.

Leapfrogging happens when developing countries skip an already outmoded technology that’s widely used in the developed world and embrace a newer one instead. In the early 2000s, for instance, households with no landline became households with more than two mobile phones. This enabled the advent of a new platform for mobile banking in Kenya and Somalia.

Similarly, crypto-labelling will lead to a form of “electronic agriculture” which will make it cheaper in the long run to label and enhance traceability. With access to mobile technology increasing globally, it’s a feasible system for the developing world.

A worker cooks halal food inside Cathay Pacific Airway’s inflight kitchen near Hong Kong Airport. Bobby Yip/Reuters

The right kind of trade

But using digital platforms to enhance food sovereignty is only plausible if international trade is not disruptive.

This is not the case now. A whole roasted turkey and condensed milk are cheaper in Hillacondji (Benin Republic) and SanveeCondji (Togo) than they are in Europe because of what economists call “dumping” – when a product is cheaper in a foreign market than in the domestic market.

Because of the low cost of imported products, local farmers in these francophone West African countries simply cannot compete. There’s no incentive to produce locally if you won’t recoup the cost of production.

In theory, it’s desirable for these to import such products because they are so inexpensive. But in practice, food sovereignty is compromised once a country needs to import staple foods that could easily be produced domestically.

Local production guarantees food safety if consumers purchase directly from farmers or through community shared agriculture. It promotes healthy eating, especially for perishable foods, that lose quality as a result of long-distance travel. It also strengthens the local economy through creation of employment and value-added products.

La Via Campesina, the international peasant’s movement interested in the welfare of farmers, wants the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to stop interfering with agriculture. But it is possible for the WTO to develop processes and procedures that will facilitate trade in Africa, based on its Trade Facilitation Agreement.

The WTO should also support developing countries in protecting their farmers, reusing seeds, and developing indigenous knowledge. Trade should not tamper with farmers’ right to plant what they want, when they want.

Intertwined sovereignty

Africa has been trading with different parts of the world for centuries, as reflected in the continent’s diverse diet. The national cuisine of the Somalis, for instance, is influenced by India, (because of the Indian Ocean trade); the Arabian Peninsula (Arab immigrants kept coming in different waves and in the process exchanges of ideas, culture and commodities took place); Ethiopia (because of trade caravan networks); and Italy (because it colonised Somalia for half a century, from 1889 to 1936).

The same thing is seen among the Swahili people of the Kenyan and Tanzanian coastal areas. There, trade has flourished for centuries, enriching the food sovereignty of several countries in Africa – that is, until multilateral organisations started performing experiments with uncertain outcomes.

I have enjoyed palm wine and pounded yam with egusi soup with a farmer called Adedeji in Ile-Ife; asked for more ugali and hot nyama choma in Nairobi while hanging out with two researchers of food and agricultural development, Makau and Magomere.

And as empirical evidence for showing food travels across borders, I have eaten kisra and okra in Edmonton with the Abibakris, a Sudanese family.

During this journey, I realised that food sovereignty is intertwined and we have a lot more in common than we tend to acknowledge. Of course food sovereignty and international trade can coexist – as long as the private sector is socially responsible and governments develop appropriate policies.

The Conversation

Bamidele Adekunle, Contract Faculty, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University; SEDRD Adjunct Professor, University of Guelph

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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2016’s Q3 ITC Market Analysis Services Update available

October 11, 2016

2016’s Q3 ITC Market Analysis Services Update is now online at: http://mas-admintools.intracen.org/newsletters/2016-Q3-Market_Analysis_Services_Update.pdf

Highlights include:

  • Market Access Map: Growing importance of trade remedies. Capacity building activities to advocate transparency in trade information;
  • 2016 Trade for Sustainable Development Forum: Summary, session briefs and videos from the event;
  • New publication by the European University Institute and ITC: Social and Environmental Standards: Contribution to more sustainable value chains;
  • Non-Tariff Measures: National stakeholders meetings in the Philippines, Dominican Republic and Nepal;
  • EuroMed Trade and Investment Facilitation Mechanism (TIFM): How to download a step-by-step guide for SMEs and first time importers/exporters in the EuroMed Trade Helpdesk portal;
  • Trade Map: improvements on data quality for your research;
  • 2016 Trade for Sustainable Development: Important highlights and key takeaway points;
  • Get the latest ITC Tools updates, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade

October 11, 2016

The Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST) is an international, non-profit association located in Montreal, Canada. FAST promotes the growth of sustainable production and trade by increasing the number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in developing nations who are able to successfully access quality finance.

FAST facilitates efficiency, transparency, and stability in financial markets for sustainable SMEs. By partnering with our members and other stakeholders, we use our tools, services and project models to help our partners implement their SME finance goals.

FAST members include socially oriented financial institutions, non-governmental development-focused organizations, certification bodies, export agencies, and producers and their cooperatives. FAST lenders include social investors, non-profit lending institutions, ethical banks, commercial banks, foundations, and public and multilateral banks.

To find out more visit: http://www.fastinternational.org/

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The role of chefs in linking agriculture to tourism in the South Pacific

October 06, 2016

Chefs For Development: The Role of Chefs in Linking Agriculture to Tourism in the South Pacific

By Robert Oliver and Dr Tracy Berno. CTA, 2016.

The coastal and inland fisheries, tropical climate and fertile soils of South Pacific nations support the production of fresh ingredients that are healthy, nutritious and vitamin rich. Although traditional Pacific cuisine based on these fresh local ingredients is alive and well in the homes of Pacific Islanders, much of the food served in the tourism industry is imported and fails to deliver an authentic South Pacific cuisine experience to visitors. Many Pacific tourism menus are based on Western-style dishes which require the importation of significant amounts of food from overseas (estimated to comprise up to 80-90% of food consumed in some tourism operations for example). Some menus do offer 'Pacific food'. For the most part this cuisine is often inauthentic and reflects what has come to be expected as Pacific Island 'tourism food' at themed island-night events, and is more often than not a mere parody of traditional foods. This is a lost opportunity for both the countries of the South Pacific and the visitors they host. 

Download the booklet

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New app brings buyers and sellers of goods in Small Ruminants Industry together

September 30, 2016

The Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute(CARDI) and The University of the West Indies(UWI) AgriNeTT Team have come together to create the (Small Ruminant) SR-Market Application, developed to allow buyers and sellers of goods in the Small Ruminants Industry to interact. The application does this by providing a virtual market/forum in which persons in the Small Ruminants Industry can post what they wish to buy/sell and view what others wish to buy/sell. Buyers and sellers can then interact externally of the application using contact numbers used to post information.

This application is developed as part of the CARDI Small Ruminants Programme which aims at helping farmers in the sheep and goat industry to increase productivity through the use of best practice husbandry and enterprise management techniques.

Features of the application includes:

  • Create virtual market listings/posts to show others in the Small Ruminants Industry what you wish to buy/sell.
  • View market listings from others through use of 6 major categories of goods in the Small Ruminants Industry.
  • Rate buyers and sellers on the market after you've interacted with them.
  • Subscribe for notifications when people are interested in your goods, you can also subscribe to receive notifications when someone posts something in a category you're interested in.

Download the app from the Google Play store (for Android devices) now: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=dcit.uwi_agrinett.sr_market

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Join ConnectAmericas, the first social network for businesses in the Americas

September 08, 2016

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has created ConnectAmericas, the first social network for businesses in the Americas.

It is dedicated to promoting foreign trade and international investment. With the slogan:“Take the world with your hands,” the goal of the platform is to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to grow their businesses internationally in three steps: CONNECT, LEARN AND FINANCE.

ConnectAmericas will help SMEs to strengthen their businesses, providing access to communities of clients, suppliers and investors in the region and all over the world, segmented by industry. It will also provide useful and simple information about procedures and regulations for international commerce, and about the financing opportunities available in IDB member countries.

To find out more and to join visit: https://connectamericas.com/

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Reducing the CARICOM Food Import Bill and the Real Cost of Food: Policy and Investment Options

September 06, 2016

This study analyses the composition and policy options surrounding the food import bill (FIB) of the CARICOM Member States, as well as policy options for its reduction. This study, commissioned by the FAO Project on “Promoting CARICOM/CARIFORUM Food Security” for the CARICOM Secretariat and for the benefit of CARICOM Member States, explores the composition (in product terms), value (in both absolute terms and relative to key variables), and policy/investment options for national governments concerned with rising levels of food imports. Download here.

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Burkina Faso: Using shea caterpillar to fight malnutrition

August 31, 2016

Kahitouo HIEN, 31 years, an engineer in agro-chemistry, works on the development of nutritional solutions with the shea caterpillar through his enterprise FASOPRO. 

Learn more in this video used with permission of Agribusines TV, a web TV initiative which uses videos as a promotion tool to strengthen agriculture and make the sector more attractive to youth by showcasing success stories of young agricultural entrepreneurs and their innovations in Africa.

 

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Togo: Organic chocolate for the local market

August 31, 2016

Natalie KPANTE, 28 years, is a graduate in sociology. In 2013, she created with five other young people, CHOCO TOGO, a cooperative that produces and markets organic chocolate.

Learn more in this video used with permission of Agribusines TV, a web TV initiative which uses videos as a promotion tool to strengthen agriculture and make the sector more attractive to youth by showcasing success stories of young agricultural entrepreneurs and their innovations in Africa.

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Mali: First steps of an agricultural enterprise for 25 year old

August 31, 2016

After his studies in finance and enterprise management in Morocco, Abdoulaye COULIBALY, 25 years, returns to Mali and to venture into rice and vegetable farming. 

Learn more in this video used with permission of Agribusines TV, a web TV initiative which uses videos as a promotion tool to strengthen agriculture and make the sector more attractive to youth by showcasing success stories of young agricultural entrepreneurs and their innovations in Africa.

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Togo: An inventor at the service of the agri-food sector

August 31, 2016

Edouard AKAKPO-LADO, 25 years, is an electro-mechanical engineer from Togo. He invents machines for agricultural transformation.

Learn about his inventions in this video used with permission of of Agribusines TV, a web TV initiative which uses videos as a promotion tool to strengthen agriculture and make the sector more attractive to youth by showcasing success stories of young agricultural entrepreneurs and their innovations in Africa.

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Benin: A woman in man’s universe of crop production

August 31, 2016

Danielle NDA is a farmer in Benin. Learn more about her journey in this video used with permission of of Agribusines TV, a web TV initiative which uses videos as a promotion tool to strengthen agriculture and make the sector more attractive to youth by showcasing success stories of young agricultural entrepreneurs and their innovations in Africa.

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Engineer in Cameroon creates kits to grow crops inside houses

August 31, 2016

Flavien KOUATCHA, 27 years, is an engineer in Cameroon. In 2015, he founded “Save Our Agriculture”, a start-up specialised in the conception of aquaponic kits.

Be inspired by his journey in this video used with permission of Agribusines TV, a web TV initiative which uses videos as a promotion tool to strengthen agriculture and make the sector more attractive to youth by showcasing success stories of young agricultural entrepreneurs and their innovations in Africa.

 

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Breadfruit, The Plant That Keeps Giving

August 24, 2016

Breadfruit & Dahl Curry

by Shereen Ali

Breadfruit dishes, from roasts to coconut milk oil-downs to crispy chips have warmed the heart and belly of many a Caribbean person—especially in St. Vincent, where breadfruit is a passion. In Trinidad and Tobago, it’s been a part of the landscape and culture, too: “If you have a breadfruit tree in your yard, you’ll never starve,” said a grizzled Roger from Belmont one night, a senior bartender/entrepreneur who remembered many times in his youth when, cared for by an elderly grandmother figure, the breadfruit tree in their back yard was often the only thing that fed them in tough times.

Breadfruit first came to the Caribbean in 1793, when Captain William Bligh of the ship HMS Providence brought young plants from Tahiti in the South Pacific to plant in the Caribbean. The idea was to provide a cheap, plentiful food for enslaved peoples, to prevent persistent famine and food shortages in the sugar growing colonies. And so it was: breadfruit spread to the West Indian islands.

Food wise, breadfruit is a winner, being a high energy source of carbohydrates, and wonderfully low in fat, with good fibre, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, thiamine, and niacin. It is gluten-free. It is a form of starch that releases sugar slowly into the bloodstream, compared to cereals from wheat flour which release a burst of sugar—so breadfruit is better for diabetes and obesity control.

You can curry breadfruit, steam it, roast it, fry it, boil it or grill it: it absorbs almost any flavour. You can eat it as a starch staple, as part of a salad, as a snack or as a sweet dessert, or even as a chutney or pickle, depending on how ripe it is, and your recipe. And according to Dr. Laura Roberts-Nkrumah, Senior Lecturer in Crop Science at The University of the West Indies (UWI), breadfruit has great potential as a powerhouse for sustainable local agriculture—a potential we’ve yet to ​realise.

Breadfruit: So Sustainable

Dr. Roberts-Nkrumah is passionate about Caribbean agriculture, and is especially fascinated by breadfruit. She’s been lecturing at The UWI since 1988—27 years; 25 of those have been focused on breadfruit research—as a crop and as a policy issue for food security. Dr. Roberts-Nkrumah spoke about why we should be treating breadfruit with a great deal more respect. “Breadfruit as a perennial tree crop offers a lot of advantages that are long lasting. As a perennial crop, it does not have to be replanted annually, so there is no annual disturbance to the soil as you would have with short-term crops,” she explained.

“Also, when it sheds its leaves, it allows for recycling of nutrients. As a large tree, it also sequesters carbon in its biomass. And the shedding of leaves provides mulch, which conserves soil moisture during the dry season, and very importantly, also helps to prevent soil loss, particularly in hilly areas.”

Soil erosion protection is a valuable service: in the Pacific, breadfruit agroforests have protected mountain slopes from erosion for more than two millenia, notes the Breadfruit Institute, which manages the largest and most extensive breadfruit collection in the world. Located in Hawaii at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, the institute conserves and researches breadfruit varieties, and seeks to expand plantings of good quality breadfruit varieties in tropical regions for food security. The institute website notes that in traditional ​agroforestry systems in the Pacific, breadfruit trees for centuries have created a lush overstory for tropical ​agroforestry, sheltering a wide range of cultivated and native plants grown for food and other purposes. It also notes that breadfruit trees give shelter and food for important plant pollinators and seed dispersers such as honeybees, birds, and fruit bats.

“Breadfruit helps prolong soil fertility, even in a cropping system,” explained Dr. Roberts-Nkrumah, “—and that’s why breadfruit in Trinidad and Tobago has been traditionally planted with cocoa—because it helps to create the kind of environment in which cocoa will grow well; it provides the shade, it helps retain the soil’s moisture, recycles nutrients and so on.” 

“So breadfruit protects the environment,” said ​Roberts-Nkrumah. “And because it’s a long-term crop, it can also be a sustainable source of income and nutrition for a long period—for more than one generation. It epitomises what sustainable agriculture is about.” ​Roberts-Nkrumah doesn’t think we have explored this potential enough. She commented that some of our elders would know of the multiple uses of breadfruit. In addition to food, for instance, the plant can be used for medicine; the wood pulp can be made into paper; three breadfruit compounds—capric, undecanoic and lauric acids—are good insect repellants; the white sticky sap (“laglee” in Trinidad and Tobago lingo) can be used as an adhesive; and the light, sturdy, termite-resistant wood can be used for construction of structures including houses and outrigger canoes. It’s a tough tree, too: even after hurricane damage, a damaged breadfruit tree can survive and regrow itself. It’s a truly resilient, multipurpose plant.

Although many of us like eating breadfruit, there’s a reason it’s never been grown on a large commercial scale in Trinidad and Tobago. And this has a lot to do with our own historical lack of basic information on the plant, its many varieties, and which varieties might be better for which purposes—even though breadfruit has been growing here since the late 18th century. ​Roberts-Nkrumah recalled that even up to the ​1990s, there was almost no research being done on breadfruit, whether in Trinidad and Tobago or worldwide: “No one was doing the kind of research that would have been put into sugar or banana or corn, for instance,” she remembered. That dearth of information was a barrier to economic investment in breadfruit as a commercial crop, she said.

Due partly to the research efforts at The UWI, though, that situation is changing; much of Dr. Roberts-​Nkrumah’s own research has been on expanding the available germplasm and evaluating different varieties of breadfruit in Trinidad and Tobago.

Breadfruit—High Yields

Roberts-Nkrumah was attracted to breadfruit for two reasons: its high yields (one tree can yield from 30 to 200 fruits per season), and the permanence of the trees, which last a long time. “There are breadfruit trees in our landscape that have been there for generations,” she commented.

She said there were two main barriers to commercial breadfruit agriculture here. The first is our limited stock of germplasm: “The genetic variability is very limited, because breadfruit is an introduced crop to the Caribbean—there was just so much that Captain ​Bligh could have brought. And he collected from a very small area.” She said we have only two main varieties here: the White and the Yellow. Both bear seasonally. While seasonality is not necessarily a big issue—we can eat other starchy foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, or cassava instead—we can still explore whether there are other breadfruit varieties that can bear at other times of the year, she said.

The second—and bigger—problem to commercial breadfruit production is harvesting, said Roberts-​Nkrumah. Breadfruit, after all, comes from a tall tree: “This huge yield you get from a breadfruit tree is because you are dealing with a very large plant. How will you check to see the fruit’s level of maturity? How will you get the fruit down from trees 50 to 60 feet tall? Also, remember it is a fruit—when it ripens, it falls, and can get damaged or squashed. So while height might be great for productivity (per unit area of ground, using vertical space), it has challenges for harvesting and marketability of the fruit.”

Roberts-Nkrumah saw there was a genetic aspect to both these problems, therefore she decided to pursue expansion of the breadfruit germplasm.

Current UWI Research

Ongoing UWI research in the Faculty of Food and Agriculture, said Roberts-Nkrumah, includes evaluating different breadfruit varieties. The faculty does breadfruit field research at the University Field Station in Valsayn, and some research is also done at the PCS Nitrogen Model Farm in Couva. These ​organisations also collaborate annually on training sessions for farmers. The research is examining the different breadfruit varieties for their types of growth and development (including height); their yields; their seasonality; their disease resistance (in both the tree and the fruit); and propagation methods by improving traditional methods and using new approaches, including tissue culture and grafting.

Most breadfruit we get in the Caribbean are the large, seedless types—White and Yellow varieties—and therefore have more pulp for human consumption, said ​Roberts-Nkrumah. But there are many seeded types, and many other varieties, elsewhere. In Hawaii at the Breadfruit Institute, for instance, there are some 120 varieties of breadfruit. ​Roberts-Nkrumah noted most breadfruit in Trinidad grows along the east coast and in the valleys, because of the higher moisture there. And she said that if farmers were thinking of investing in breadfruit as a crop, they first need to do their research and have a plan, as breadfruit is a long-term crop. They must carefully consider their markets, among other important factors, before deciding on a variety. She said basic questions would be: Why do you want to grow breadfruit? What will be its end use? And what kind of consumers will you sell it to?

So far, some advances in The UWI’s breadfruit research at the St. Augustine Campus include: a wider stock of germplasm characterising cultivars; more information on breadfruit’s nutritional composition;consumer preferences; information of properties of breadfruit flour and related products; and post-harvest management, processing, and design of processing equipment. At the Mona Campus research has been done on medicinal properties.

New Breadfruit Community Online

Last year, The UWI’s Faculty of Food and Agriculture hosted a successful International Breadfruit Conference (July 5-8) at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain, which attracted presenters from the Pacific, Asia, Africa, the US and the Caribbean. It was the first conference on breadfruit ever held in Trinidad and Tobago, and generously supported by PCS Nitrogen Trinidad Limited, the major sponsor. Dr. Roberts-Nkrumah said the impact of the conference has been very good. As a result of networking and knowledge exchanged there, institutional use of breadfruit may increase. Also, emerging from the conference, there will be more research done to put breadfruit into consumer hands, and there have been increased requests for help from farmers. Also, there’s a healthy interest in harnessing breadfruit into community tourism along the east coast—and an increasing recognition of breadfruit’s potential in community development.

Triggered by interest at the conference, there will also soon be a new breadfruit website; there is already a new Facebook page called the International Breadfruit Network, to exchange ideas and information across geographical borders on anything breadfruit-related. “I feel it’s the food of the future,” said Olelo pa’a Faith Ogawa, a Hawaii-born private chef, to writer Julia ​Sile for a 2011 Wall Street Journal article on breadfruit: “If I were to speak to the breadfruit spirit, it would tell me: ‘Grow me! Eat me!’ It can feed villages!” 

Original series published in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Newspaper, November 2015. 

Reprinted with permission of the author and editor, Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Copyright © 2015. Guardian Media Limited.

This article is also published in The Pelican, a magazine of the University of the West Indies, (Issue 14 January - June 2016).

 

For more information

The International Breadfruit Network

https://www.facebook.com/breadfruitnetwork

The UWI Department of Food Production

http://sta.uwi.edu/ffa/foodprod/

Tel: (868) 662-2002, ext 83989

Email: food.production@sta.uwi.edu

First Floor, Sir Frank Stockdale Building,

Department of Food Production,

Faculty of Food and Agriculture,

The UWI, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago

The Breadfruit Institute

http://ntbg.org/breadfruit/

The Breadfruit Institute,

National Tropical Botanical Garden,

3530 Papalina Road, Kalaheo, Kauai, Hawaii USA 96741

Tel: (808) 332-7324

Email: breadfruitinstitute@ntbg.org

 

Breadfruit & Dahl Curry

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

1 small size breadfruit (about 300gm)

100 gm toor dal (split pigeon peas)

1 level tsp tamarind paste

½ tsp turmeric powder

2 large onions sliced fine

Oil or ghee for frying

For the masala:

6 long dry red chillies

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp channa dahl (split chickpeas)

Pinch of hing (asafoetida) (optional)

1 cup grated coconut (or half a coconut grated)

For the seasoning/tempering:

½ tsp mustard

1 sprig curry leaves (kadipatta)

1 tbsp oil or ghee

Method

1. Wash and cut the breadfruit into half (vertically) and

remove the skin gently. Cut into quarters, remove the

pith and cut into small chunks.

2. Wash the split peas and pressure cook with sufficient

water and a little salt. Set aside.

3. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat some oil or ghee and

roast the ingredients mentioned in ‘For the masala’.

Grind to a fine paste using a little water.

4. In another pan, add the tamarind water, breadfruit

chunks, turmeric powder, sliced onions, salt to taste

and some water and cook it on slow fire till the

breadfruit is tender (but not mushy). Add to this the

ground masala and the precooked toor dahl (split

pigeon peas) and the dahl water, if required to achieve

a gravy consistency. Check salt and bring the curry to

a boil.

5. Season the curry with the seasoning for which

you need to heat some oil in a pan and toss in the

mustard—when they splutter, add the curry leaves

and add this mixture to the curry.

6. Serve hot with rice.

Recipe courtesy www.ruchikrandhap.com

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Journalistic blog provides timely information on Caribbean agri-sector

August 15, 2016

Keron Bascombe is the creator and editor of tech4agri.com.  At the end of 2014 he decided to transform this blog into a social enterprise which uses journalistic activity to provide up-to-date information on the Caribbean agri-sector, among other goals. Here’s his story…

Name of Business: Tech4agri

Country: Trinidad and Tobago

Years of Operation: Over 4 years

Profile: Tech4Agri is a blog that highlights technologies and innovation in agriculture in areas such as research, agribusiness, entrepreneurship, science etc., providing an information service to young persons and those with interest in the field.

We have produced a web series, ingenuously created using mobile journalism, made by youth for youth in agriculture, acting as a modern information source and transforming the overall outlook of the agricultural sector.

Tech4Agri, the web series is the first of its kind originating out of the Caribbean: a media production created through the use of mobile journalism. 

We practice mobile journalism - an emerging form of new media storytelling where reporters use mobile devices with supporting apps and accessories (lenses, mics etc.) to gather, edit and distribute news from his or her community. We are one of the few start-ups that practice this new age form of journalism.

With extremely limited resources we have been able to get our business started. We have our first season online. And we are on track to make the leap to television with our second season.

Journey: Tech4agri came about due to being dissatisfied with my education program. I felt it was overly theoretical and having constantly worked in the field in one way or another I felt my intended degree was, to be honest, not useful. Many of my colleagues felt the same way and with very few opportunities for employment in the sector I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Therefore in 2011 the blog was started. It went on to win numerous awards as well as providing valuable experience in the field. The career of agri journalism and communications was opened up to me and I have been operating as a freelance writer, agri blogger, and most recently venturing into media production.

At the end of 2014 I made the long-term commitment to build a business out of my work. We face many ups and downs but my volunteer team and I will keep forging ahead until we’re successful and then move on to bigger things!

Lesson Learnt: Stay  dedicated! If your dreams don’t scare you they are not big enough!

Best advice received & its impact: Nothing worth getting is easy to get, you have to work for it. If you want something go out and earn it.

We all work in the food and agri sectors in the Caribbean and with its numerous problems it can be frustrating. However, if you stay the course you can find what suits you and make a living, after all it is a necessity that we eat, and therefore the agriculture sector is, for lack of a better term, a gold mine.

End quotes: Whatever niche you find yourself in, whether it is directly in food production, a support service, a related sector or as an entrepreneur you should start small but constantly look for opportunities to improve your skills and expertise from as many varied resources as possible.

This is a challenge but it builds your character over time and allows you to be able to confront problems while, most importantly, coming up with solutions as your business or career progresses. Lastly, allow yourself time to grow, enjoy the journey now rather than much later when you finally achieve success.

Get in touch:

Email: keronbascombe@gmail.com      webseries@tech4agri.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Technology4agri/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tech4agri/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tech4agri     https://twitter.com/wiscobasco

Blog/website: http://www.tech4agri.com/

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The 10th EDF Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Project

August 15, 2016

The Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Project, is one component of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Programme titled “Support to the Caribbean Forum of ACP States in the Implementation of Commitments Undertaken under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)”. The overall objective of the SPS Project is to strengthen the capacity of CARIFORUM States for international market access through compliance with Europe’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, as well as improve capacity for developing regionally harmonized SPS measures. 

Project Actions: 
The SPS Project actions are directed towards creating and/or strengthening Regional and National SPS systems through systematic focus on alleviating constraints in the areas of legislation, coordination and capacity building:  

  • Legislation: Establishment of a sound and comprehensive national and regional legislative framework for plant and animal health, including fisheries, food safety, and related environmental monitoring;  
  • Coordination: Development and organization of an efficient responsive institutional framework and mechanism for coordination of SPS issues at both the national and regional level; and  
  • Capacity Building: Development of the human resources to support the SPS regime.

This will aim to improve the capacity of public and private sector stakeholders in areas such as;
the application of good agricultural, manufacturing and laboratory practices, HACCP and risk analyses, pest identification and food safety.  

To find out more and download the project documents visit: http://caricom.org/projects/detail/the-10th-edf-sanitary-and-phytosanitary-measures-project

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A Guide to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for Crop Production

August 15, 2016

The good agricultural practices (GAP) manual for crops is a set of guidelines aimed at promoting best practices in crop production. Its principal aim is to minimize the risk of contamination of foods by bacteria and other microbial pathogens, pests and chemicals during the primary production activities. The first edition was published by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries, Jamaica in 2012. 

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Definition and principles of Good Agricultural Practices

August 15, 2016

Definition
“Good Agricultural Practices involves the adoption and application of good management principles for the production of wholesome and safe agricultural products for human consumption without affecting the environment and the health of farm workers.”

For more visit the website of the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency at: http://www.cahfsa.org/2-uncategorised/38-good-agricultural-practices.

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Marine invasive species in the Caribbean

August 12, 2016

Little is known or documented on the status of marine invasive species in the Caribbean beyond a few instances (e.g. Perna viridis - green mussel). Indeed, a 2003 compilation listed of 552 invasive species in the insular Caribbean, only 18 of which were marine (Kairo et al., 2003*). The authors speculated that this was at least in part because technological advances facilitating the reporting of marine species (e.g. improvements in diving equipment) were recent. In addition, there was often difficulty in determining whether newly reported marine species were introduced aliens or merely native species that had formerly gone unobserved. It was concluded that there was a gap in knowledge regarding the status of introduced organisms in the marine environment, and the threat that these may constitute.

For more visit the website of the Caribbean Environment Programme: http://www.cep.unep.org/publications-and-resources/marine-and-coastal-issues-links/invasive-species

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Caribbean Invasive Alien Species Network

August 12, 2016

The Caribbean Invasive Alien Species Network is a collaborative effort to provide information and to network on all aspects of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in the wider Caribbean.

The information available here represents the contribution of many scientists; national; regional and international organisations such as such as the project: Mitigating the Threats of Invasive Alien Species in the Insular Caribbean (MTIASIC) funded by the Global Fund for the Environment (GEF) with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as the lead implementing agency and CAB International (CABI) with national executing agencies and partners in the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago; the Caribbean Plant Health Directors Forum (CPHDF), among others.

For more visit: http://www.ciasnet.org/ 

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Plan of Action for the Prevention and Control of NDCs in the Americas 2013-2019

August 11, 2016

This Plan of Action is for the period 2013—2019 and corresponds to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases for 2012—2025, endorsed in 2012 by the Pan American Sanitary Conference along with a regional framework for  prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

It proposes actions on NCDs by the Pan American Sanitary Bureau (PASB) and by Member  States that take into account regional and subregional initiatives, contexts, and achievements and follow the 2014 2019 timeline of the PAHO Strategic Plan. At the same time it aligns with the World Health Organization (WHO) NCD Global Monitoring Framework and Global Action Plan 2013 2020.

Click here to view the publication http://agricarib.org/images/docs/action-plan-prevention-control-ncds-americas.pdf

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Eat Safely Campaign

August 04, 2016

"Eat Safely" is a communication campaign launched by the Food Safety and Quality Team of the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, in order to raise awareness on food safety issues. The campaign, which is developed under one of FAO's global and regional priorities "promoting food safety and quality" is aimed at informing consumers using easy and direct messages on some basic principles that are essential to guarantee food safety.

These days, foodborne diseases (FBDs) are one of the most significant problems at the global level linked to public health, both in developed and developing countries. The knowledge of good hygienic practices in handling and preparing food could improve food safety and quality in the region and, as a consequence, increase food security.

View and listen to the campaign materials at: http://www.fao.org/americas/recursos/come-sano/en/

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Baobab Foods predicts baobab will explode in the US beverage industry

August 04, 2016

SPINS data shows baobab sales have increased 208% in all natural sales channels from June 2014 to July 2015, and 267% in supplements. US supplier Baobab Foods is working with beverage companies, including Suja Juice, to incorporate the African "superfruit" into their products. For more visit: ​http://www.beveragedaily.com/Markets/Baobab-Foods-predicts-baobab-will-explode-in-the-US-beverage-industry

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Breadfruit: 5 reasons to pay attention to this superfood now

August 04, 2016

Breadfruit: Market Awareness Meets Social Impact

The global health and wellness market is estimated to break $1 trillion by 2017. The organic, health and allergen-free category is outperforming the mainstream food industry, and consumer bias towards choosing socially-responsible (if pricier) products continues to grow. With these trends in market awareness showing real stamina, it’s worth paying attention to a little-known but potentially powerful player that meets criteria for both market enterprise and social impact. Meet breadfruit. For more visit: ​http://globalmana.org/blog/breadfruit-5-reasons-to-pay-attention-to-this-superfood-now/

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CANADIAN SEASONAL AGRICULTURAL WORKERS PROGRAMME

August 04, 2016

Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme, commonly referred to as the Canadian Farm Labour Programme, started as a private initiative in the early 60’s when Ontario farmers recruited Jamaican workers to work on their tobacco plantations. This approach proved to be disorganized and costly and in 1966, the Canadian government assumed control of the programme. The programme provided Canada with a cost efficient way of sourcing contractual agricultural workers on a seasonal basis, to meet the short-term demand of manual labour during the peak planting and harvesting seasons.

In this programme, workers engage in a wide array of agricultural activities and deal mainly with fruits, vegetables and tobacco. Their tasks involve cultivating, pruning, spraying, irrigation, fertilization, harvesting, hand-thinning, grading etc.

The Canadian Farm Labour Programme is more than an employment opportunity but an amazing life experience as its participants forge valuable friendships and relationships within their Canadian communities. It presents an amazing an opportunity to temporarily live overseas and be exposed to different culture.

 

KEY FEATURES OF THE PROGRAMME

Travel

The employer pays for the airfare and makes all the necessary travel arrangements.

 

Accommodation

The employer is responsible for providing clean living accommodations to the workers, without cost. These accommodations must satisfy the health and housing standards of the province in which the farm is located. It must also meet the expectations of the local liaison service, which represents the Government of Barbados in Canada.

 

Meals

The employer is responsible for providing appropriate meals to each worker at a cost that must not exceed CAD $ 7.00 (BBD $ 13.23). The worker could also choose to prepare his/her own meals. In this case, the employer is responsible for providing the cooking facilities, utensils and fuel without cost.

After five (5) consecutive hours of employment, each employee is entitled to a meal break of at least thirty (30) minutes and to two rest periods for ten (10) minutes in both mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

 

Period of Employment & Working Hours

Under this programme, the period of employment can be no longer than eight (8) months nor less than 240 hours over six weeks or less. However, if an emergency situation arises, a specific exemption could be granted to the employer by the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), the agency responsible for administering this programme on behalf of the Government of Canada.

An employer may require a worker to be on probation during a trial period of seven (7) actual working days from the date of arrival at the farm. During this period, the employer cannot discharge the worker except for misconduct or refusal to work.

The average minimum work week is forty (40) hours. For every six consecutive days of work, an employee is entitled to one day of rest.

 

Wages & Deductions

The wages are paid weekly in Canadian dollars at a rate which is equal to the following, whichever is the greatest:

The wage established by the law of the province within which the place of employment is located; or
The rate determined annually by HRSDC to be paid for the type of agricultural work being carried out by the worker
The rate being paid by the employer to his regular seasonal work force performing the same type of agricultural work.

 

For more information visit https://labour.gov.bb/neb_overseas_employ_prog_agricultural

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Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre

August 03, 2016

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre posts procurement notices for consultancies in various areas including climate change and bioenergy. For details visit: http://www.caribbeanclimate.bz/opportunities/

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Green Climate Fund helping countries fund climate adaptation & mitigation projects

July 28, 2016

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was established to help countries fund projects for climate adaptation and mitigation. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) is the interface and conduit for GCF funding to the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean. Application for GCF funding takes place in consultation with country focal points (NDAs) and the CCCCC.

Countries can now apply for grant funding up to USD $50 million per project. Find out more: http://www.caribbeanclimate.bz/featured-articles/green-climate-fund-gcf.html

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Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA)

July 11, 2016

The Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) is mandated to perform a coordinating and organizing role for the establishment of an effective and efficient regional sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regime and to execute on behalf of Member States such SPS actions and activities that can be more effectively and efficiently executed through a regional mechanism.

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Cultivating Success - A Labour of Love

July 07, 2016

This article first appeared on Caribbean Export. Used with permission.

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it. This is but one of the many qualities that is synonymous with the work undertaken, and the products supplied by Bahamian businesswoman, Rionda Godet. The self-proclaimed ‘Attornfarmpreneur’ (pronounced at-turn-farm-pruh-newer), is the founder and proprietor of Nassau-based Ridge Farms, a Bahamian agri-business firm specialising in 100% natural jams, pepper jellies, tomato and pepper sauces, and salsas.

“I am an attorney by profession, a farmer by choice, and an entrepreneur by nature. Growing things is my passion.  For as long as I have known myself, I have always loved growing things - especially things that I can eat.  As a child, I loved to watch for the unfolding of leaves and the budding of flowers that gave way to edible fruit. That love has remained even in my adult years, although I wafted into a very healthy legal practice”

Rionda transitioned into food processing as a result of an arrangement with a client that was not honoured. What could have been seen as a problem was regarded instead as a prospect.

A client reneged on their contract to purchase my organic tomatoes, so I was left stranded with an order that I could not parcel out to anyone else. I decided to distribute them freely to members of my church, but I still had a good bit left after that order. So I made tomato sauces. Lots and lots of tomato sauces. I eventually made three variations, all of which received overwhelming responses, and the rest is as they say, history”.

Shortly after, she started making pepper sauces from home-grown peppers, and jams and pepper jellies from her collection of homespun fruit. In 2009, Rionda established Ridge Farms, and immediately made the decision to take a 3-year sabbatical from her legal profession to develop the business. The daily operations of the family-run business is managed by Rionda, but from time to time, her husband and two sons play a role in fulfilling orders and undertaking other business processes.

Even though there is local demand for Ridge Farm’s products, the majority of the company’s customers are within the tourist market. Primarily luxury hotel resorts, tourist souvenir boutiques, and in the departure lounge of the Sir Lynden Pindling Airport.

Through tourist sales, approximately 65% of Ridge Farms products end up in the United States (US) and Canada. Rionda however has plans to establish a factory within the US in order to boost her manufacturing and distribution efforts.

“The cost of shipping from the Bahamas is extremely prohibitive at this point for my business, but there is a tremendous opportunity awaiting in the Caribbean diaspora within the North American market, so this is the next logical step for me to take”.

The award-winning company has received global recognition since commencing operations, but like most small enterprises, there are periods of difficulty.

“I suppose like everyone else, capital is always a key concern. When I took my sabbatical from law, I made sure that I had a nest egg secured to help me maintain my financial responsibilities.  In truth, I depleted these savings before my business was self-sustaining, because promises of support that aided my decision to move into agri-business did not come to fruition. Nevertheless, when your dream is big enough, no obstacle can be a deterrent, just a detour. It has been a tremendous journey, and one I believe will pay off in big dividends in the future”. 

In building the Ridge Farm brand, Rionda has recognised the importance of taking advantage of capacity building initiatives as a critical aspect of business development. This led to a multidimensional engagement with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export). Under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Private Sector Programme (RPSDP), Ridge Farms was a beneficiary of the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS), and participated in the CARICOM-DR and CARIFORUM-EU Business Forums, Break Point and the Study Tours to Europe.

“My experience with Caribbean Export started in 2012. Through the Agency, I have attended a number of educational and technical symposiums and workshops that have connected me with fellow Caribbean manufacturers in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. The most beneficial initiative was the European Study Tour as that provided phenomenal business-to-business opportunities with manufacturers and distributors in Hamburg Germany, Manchester, and Paris.

Another major achievement for Ridge Farms was the award of two grants under the DAGS. With this funding, Rionda was able to increase product development and efficiency with the new machinery purchased, and adopt innovative business practices.

Rionda deems herself as the poster child for Caribbean Export, and credits the programme activities under the 10th EDF RPSDP with shaping her business into a successful enterprise.

“I consider [the Agency] a partner, and because of the assistance I have received, I am happy to share my experiences and speak about the programme, so that others can benefit as I have”.

Her biggest business wish is to see Ridge Farms become self-sustaining, and used as a model for other cottage industries. The ultimate goal is for her business ‘to be to the Bahamas, what Grace Foods is to Jamaica’, a reference to the latter nation's multinational conglomerate, Grace Kennedy.

“I honestly believe that I can do anything I put my mind to. I am even more motivated when I consider the potential and possibilities of my cottage industry. It’s not how you start, that matters, it’s how you finish; and I intend to finish well”.

The energetic entrepreneur is confident that other agro-processors can maximize on their exports, if they focus on nutritional assessments and make shelf-life testing a priority. However, as a caveat, she noted that the challenges associated with shipping from the Bahamas have to be addressed at a policy level so that there is a real chance for viability.

Rionda’s formula for success is built on a foundation of love, belief and action.

“It starts with love. I love love love what I do, and I have a firm belief that I can accomplish great things because of this undying passion. This in turn spurs me to act on my dreams, so that I can turn my potential into reality.”

To get in touch with Ridge Farms contact:
Rionda Deleveaux Godet
Founder and Proprietor
Ridge Farms Enterprises
Ocean View Drive
Westridge Estates
Nassau, Bahamas
1-242-376-9975
godetrionda@gmail.com

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FAO Crop Prospects and Food Situation

July 06, 2016

Crop Prospects and Food Situation is published by the Trade and Markets Division of FAO under the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS). It is published four times a year and focuses on developments affecting the food situation of developing countries and the Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs) in particular. The report provides a review of the food situation by geographic region, a section dedicated to the LIFDCs and a list of countries requiring external assistance for food. It also includes a global cereal supply and demand overview to complement the biannual analysis in the Food Outlook publication. Click here to read the latest reports.

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FAO Food Outlook

July 06, 2016

Food Outlook is a biannual publication (May/June and November/December), produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), focusing on developments affecting global food and feed markets. The sub-title "Global Market Analysis" reflects this focus on developments in international markets, with comprehensive assessments and forecasts on a commodity by commodity basis. Food Outlook maintains a close synergy with another major GIEWS publication, Crop Prospects and Food Situation (see link below), especially with regard to the coverage of cereals. Full report of Food Outlook is available in English and Summaries in Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish and Russian. Visit the site to download outlooks.

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Directory: Selected CARIFORUM Food Producer Groups, Buyers and Service Providers

July 06, 2016

 
This publication is a production of the Caribbean Action under the Intra-ACP Policy Programme (APP), which is funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). Presented in the form of a directory, it may be regarded as a first of its kind in the CARIFORUM region. It should be used as a ‘quick reference’ source of information about the contact coordinates of key producer groups, supermarkets, restaurants, traders, exporters, agro-processors, and input suppliers involved in selected commodity-specific chains.

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Regional Food & Nutrition Security Policy (RFNSP)

July 01, 2016

Regional Food & Nutrition Security Policy (RFNSP)

  CARICOM’s Regional Food & Nutrition Security Policy, approved by the Council for Trade & Economic Development (COTED) (Agriculture) in October 2010.

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Regional Food & Nutrition Security Policy - Action Plan

June 30, 2016

Regional Food & Nutrition Security Policy - Action Plan

The implementation document of the RFNSP.

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Regional Food & Nutrition Policy explained

June 29, 2016

Regional Food & Nutrition Policy explained

  Short guide to the RFNSP by Sergio Garcia, Programme Manager, Agriculture & Industry, CARICOM Secretariat.

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CARICOM Food & Nutrition Policy Brief Series #5

June 28, 2016

CARICOM Food & Nutrition Policy Brief Series #5

Agriculture in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is an important economic activity for food production and livelihoods in rural and urban households. Recently the sector increasingly relies on the international market for raw materials, intermediate inputs and final consumer food products.

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Tech4agri: the web series is back!

June 28, 2016

Tech4agri: the web series is back!

With the support of YPARD, the Young Professionals Platform for agriculture research and development the Tech4agri web series is back! Using YpARd's excellent network they look forward to the growth and improvement of the series. This episode features the large scale, mechanized rice farmers of the Akaloo family in Trinidad and Tobago. But how do they manage over 1000 acres of land all in need of water? Find out at: http://www.tech4agri.com/2016/05/18/tech4agri-the-web-series-ep-6-water-for-1000-acres/ 

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​ICT in agriculture project boosting R&D at UWI, St. Augustine

June 28, 2016

​ICT in agriculture project  boosting R&D at UWI, St. Augustine

AgriNeTT is an Agriculture ICT project of the St. Augustine campus of The University of the West Indies. It is funded by the UWI-Trinidad & Tobago Research and Development Impact (RDI) Fund. The AgriNeTT team is multi-disciplinary, consisting of academics from the Department of Computing & Information Technology and the Faculty of Food and Agriculture at UWI as well as persons from industry in the agriculture sector. The project is geared toward research and development on Intelligent Decision Support for Enhancing Crop Management. For more visit: http://sta.uwi.edu/rdifund/projects/agrinett/index.asp.

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Practical Action launches mobile app

June 28, 2016

Practical Action launches mobile app

If you’d like to see a knowledge management app that’s focused on getting appropriate technology into the hands of extension agents, and field workers with smart devices, Practical Action (formerly ITDG) launched a mobile app in May 2016.  

The app contains:

  • technology briefs on over 2000 appropriate technologies
  • information for the food insecure, agro-processing, or those involved in agroecology

For Apple devices the app can be downloaded from the Apple Store. For Android use, the app can be found in the Google Play Store. More information and a demo video can be found at: http://answers.practicalaction.org/mobile-application

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Drones for Agriculture – ICT Update

June 28, 2016

Drones for Agriculture – ICT Update

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones for management of crops, livestock, fisheries, forests and other natural resource-based activities represents a new technological frontier and opens up a range of exciting opportunities. The latest issue of ICT Update, a bi-monthly magazine published by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) is dedicated to the use of this technology and associated systems in different parts of the world. 

The issue is available online and in print. It includes 12 articles, one interview and a section featuring selected online resources on the topic.  Articles include:

  • the use of UAVs to design an irrigation scheme in Nigeria
  • feeding a locust monitoring scheme
  • documenting illegal land occupancy in Panama
  • assisting smallholder farmers in monitoring their crops in Eastern Africa

You can order a print, or download a PDF version via: http://bit.ly/24mvNLQ

Selected articles are featured on the magazine portal: http://ictupdate.cta.int where you can subscribe to the magazine at no cost.  

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Youth in Agriculture

June 23, 2016

With the increase in the average age of agriculture workers, the sector has seen a decrease in the number of youth starting and continuing their careers in agriculture. Youth participation is critical for Caribbean economies and young people have greater potential for developing and using innovative ideas. They are most likely to be the key to leading a revival of the sector. 

In this section, you’ll find links, articles and reports on challenges, developments and opportunities for youth in agriculture. And if you know a youth agribusiness we should profile, let us know.

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Food Security

June 23, 2016

With the increasing food import bill placing significant strain on CARICOM economies, achieving food security is a regional priority. Here you’ll find an array of policies and initiatives being undertaken. Use the links below to get started.

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Research, Development & Technology

June 23, 2016

The development and utilisation of new and appropriate technologies within the agriculture sector is important to its sustainability. Throughout the Caribbean, several organisations, both regional and national are involved in the development of technologies that are appropriate to sustainable use of this resource.

In this section, you’ll find links to useful and current resources and articles regarding Research, Development & Technology from the region and further afield.  

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Tourism & Agriculture

June 23, 2016

In this section you’ll find articles and useful resources on the links between the Agri-Food Sector and Tourism and the opportunities for development of these sectors.

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Trade Arrangements

June 23, 2016

Here you’ll find content and resources regarding CARICOM’s arrangements with trading partners. Use the links below to get started.

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Markets

June 23, 2016

Here you'll find content on matters related to trade such as access to markets. 

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CARICOM Procurement Notices

June 16, 2016

CARICOM regularly posts procurement notices for consultancies in various areas including agriculture. For details visit: http://caricom.org/work-with-us/procurement 

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Caribbean Development Bank procurement notices

June 16, 2016

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) maintains a regularly updated list of procurement notices for consultancies and projects including those related to agriculture and agribusiness. For details visit: http://www.caribank.org/projects/procurement/procurement-notices

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Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute vacancies

June 16, 2016

The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) regularly posts vacancies from CARDI and other agencies on its News pages. For details visit: http://www.cardi.org/blog/category/news/

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Putting healthy choices in your hands - Yaphene

June 13, 2016

Anastasha Elliott is the creative mind behind Yaphene, an organic cosmetic and food product business. Here’s her story….

Name of Business: Yaphene

Country: St. Kitts

Years of Operation: 4 years

Profile: At Yaphene we farm and then create organic cosmetic and food products using the foods we produce. We believe that our health choices should be in our hands; from what we put on our skin to what we eat. Food should be food. 

Journey: Yaphene was created four years ago using a bootstrap method. You see, we didn’t want to go into debt to get started and so we picked an area that would make money. That was creating bespoke cakes and healthy treats and homemade breads. Over the span of those four years we slowly built out our business to what it is shaping up to be - a modern apothecary and gourmet boutique with a curated platform.

Lesson Learnt: There is always a way if you want it badly enough, if you are willing to make the sacrifices, dream big and work hard.

Best Advice received & its impact: Just do you!

To me this meant creating my service to be what I wanted it to be regardless of what may exist already because I know what I aspire to create and there is only one unique me who can execute that dream to my specifications. It mattered only what I believed I could achieve, not what everyone else is doing or thinks I should be doing. It meant taking some risks and having them pay off in surprising ways. This piece of advice has been behind what drives me and what has enabled me to reach so far in such a short space of time.

End quotes: The culture of your company should reflect who you are as a person. For most of us we are the face of our companies. It would be easier if the values you have are the same values of your company. So be you, be a risk taker, dream big and execute that dream to become a reality.

Get in touch: 

Email: yaphene@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/yaphene & www.facebook.com/sweetliltings

Instagram: www.instagram.com/yaphene

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Climate Bulletins

June 07, 2016

Caribbean Regional Climate Centre 

Climate change and variability are having adverse effects on climate sensitive socio-economic sectors in the Caribbean. These impacts are expected to grow in the future if appropriate cost-effective adaptation strategies are not implemented. Adapting to climate change and increasing variability requires that the best information on past, current and future climate be available to support decision-making in the Caribbean and sectors such as agriculture.

Recent climate bulletins are available from the Caribbean Regional Climate Centre at: http://rcc.cimh.edu.bb/climate-bulletins/agriculture/ 


CariCOF Climate Outlooks

The CariCOF Climate Outlooks for the Caribbean are prepared by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology with contributions from some regional Meteorological Services.

The outlooks are produced by combining objective input (climate model output) and subjective input (experience). Precipitation forecasts from the Climate Prediction Tool (CPT – a statistical model) in the form of probabilities of above-, near-, or below normal rainfall, are balanced with similar output from dynamical climate models – i.e. general circulation models. 

More information is available at: http://rcc.cimh.edu.bb/long-range-forecasts/caricof-climate-outlooks/

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Closing Spot Prices 2016 YTD

May 25, 2016

CLOSING SPOT PRICES 2016 YTD to MAY 06

Download summary graphs for Closing Spot Prices 2016 YTD and Closing Futures & Spot Prices 2016 for March & April 2016. These are for corn, wheat, soybean and soybean meal. Source: Dr. Desmond Ali, Caribbean Poultry Association

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Is Angel Investment Right for your Business?

May 17, 2016

Caribbean Export will be introducing an Angel Investing programme as an alternative means for businesses to access finance.  If you have a business and looking for investment in exchange for equity, find out more here.

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Rural Women in Agriculture

May 12, 2016

An April 2016 presentation by the Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages (PROPEL) at a Women In Agriculture Symposium in Trinidad found that rural women in agriculture work on land that has less secure tenure, is smaller, and of poorer quality. For more findings as well as PROPEL's goals to address the needs of women in agriculture download the full presentation.  

WUSC, through PROPEL, is helping smallholder Caribbean farmers facilitate the safe, effective and efficient movement of fresh produce from their farms to high-value markets. With a particular focus on women and youth, they are supporting up to 11,500 small- to medium-scale producers and up to 45,000 indirect beneficiaries including processors, related businesses and family members across five countries in the Caribbean. Find out more on their website: http://wusc.ca/ 

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Company to look out for: Gopex International N.V.

April 26, 2016

This article first appeared in Caribbean Export Outlook 2016-2017. Used with permission.

Company to look out for: Gopex International N.V.

Company Name

Gopex International N.V.

 

Website

www.gopex-internationalnv.com 

 

Chief Executive Officer

Bhiesnoepersad Gopal

 

Years in existence

17 years

 

Location

Suriname

 

Product Summary

Gopex International NV produces both fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. The fresh fruit include passion fruit, watermelon, pineapple, papaya, mango, Knippa and rambuttan. Our fresh vegetables consist of bitter guard, eggplant, African eggplant, string bean, peppers, okra, tanja leafs, bitter leafs, Indian broad beans, cabbage, lettuce, celery, tomato and much more. We also supply a variety of fruit mixes and other non-processed vegetables.

 

Export markets

Netherlands, German and UK

 

Major exporting achievements

  • Quality Era Award
  • SLM, Most outstanding Shipper (Paramaribo- Amsterdam)
  • KLM Highest Tonnage growth award
  • HACCP/ISO 22000, January 2014
  • Emerging Exporter of the Year Award

 

Market entry strategies

Gopex first started as a small supplier of fresh vegetables. However, developments in both the local and export markets have led the company to specialize our processes, upgrade our infrastructure, and improve our standards in an effort to provide safe food to our consumers. Gopex is currently in the final phase of obtaining the Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification. We also record all our actions in order to maintain a strong quality system within the company.

 

Greatest Exporting Lessons Learnt

We have learnt the importance of guaranteeing the provision of safe hygienic products to our consumers. Our motto is ‘Safe food is our priority’.

 

Name of Award presented to your company

“Emerging Exporter of the Year Award”

 

Key Success Factors

Factors which have accounted for us winning the Emerging Exporter of the Year award are perseverance in all that we do, investing in sustainable agriculture, obtaining certification (ISO / HACCP, Global G.A.P.), strong management and expert staff and fulfilling our corporate social responsibility.

 

General Recommendation on Support Needed by Exporters

Our experience is that countries in CARICOM such as Trinidad, Barbados, and St. Lucia have high levels of bureaucracy and complicated documentation which makes it difficult for Surinamese producers to export to these countries. Bureaucracy also exists in Suriname and public officials as a result of red tape and limited cooperation between departments are unnecessarily causing delays in the export of agricultural products which in turn causes buyers in our export markets to receive lower quality products. In order to help firms to manage these difficult obstacles, there is a need for greater access to information from authorities on what is required to facilitate export. Perhaps training of farmers would help. There is also the need for assistance in the area of acquiring certifications such as Global G.A.P which will open up a range of markets to exporters.

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Food Trends

April 12, 2016

In this section we provide useful and insightful articles about food trends and how they influence eating habits as well as recipes. 

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Sanitary & Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures

April 12, 2016

Here you’ll find content on the application of food safety, and animal and plant health measures and how these can affect trade:

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Agricultural Policies

March 22, 2016

Agricultural Policies seek to develop a vision, goals, policy areas, specific objectives and an implementation strategy for the region’s agricultural – agriculture, fisheries, and forestry - sector. Here you’ll find policies developed with consensus from a wide range of stakeholders. 

The Caribbean Community Agricultural Policy, 2012

The CARICOM Agribusiness Development Strategy, October 2012

Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy (RFNSP), 2010 

Regional Food & Nutrition Security Policy - Action Plan

Statement issued by the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community at their Thirtieth Meeting in Liliendaal, Guyana, 2-5 July, 2009

Agriculture in the Caribbean (The Agriculture page on the CARICOM website)

CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)  (The CSME page on the CARICOM website) 

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Good Agricultural Practices

March 22, 2016

Here you'll find useful and insightful articles and resources on Good Agricultural Practices and how they can positively impact agriculture.

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Pests & AIS

March 22, 2016

Here you'll find useful and insightful articles and resources on pests and Alien Invasive Species affecting the region’s agriculture and fisheries.

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Eating Safely, Nutrition and NCDs

March 22, 2016

Here you'll find useful and insightful articles on the relationship between food and our health, and how we can better safeguard our wellbeing. 

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Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA)

January 19, 2016

Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA)

The Windward Islands Farmers Association was set up in 1982 as an informal association of farmer groups to support small-scale farmers efforts to remain sustainable. It was later established as a formal umbrella organization representing those farmer associations - all four Windward Islands in 1987.

It is a people-centered non governmental organization that represents, protects, and promotes the interest of thousands of farmers in these islands and Martinique in a continued struggle to improve the farm, family, community, and national conditions. In the current new global economic order, WINFA is involved in the challenge of sustaining the income and livelihood of banana farmers and the banana industry in general, resulting from the WTO (World Trade Organization) ruling and other trade regimes that threaten the socio-economical stability of the region.

Our Mission:

To build a financially independent democratic organization that champions the cause of farmers and rural communities in the Caribbean, through the provision of programs which address issues such as food security, gender equity, sustainable development, and sector linkages.

The Major Objectives of WINFA Include:
 

     
  • Support organizational and program initiatives of farmers and farmers organizations in the region;
  •  
  • Seeking alternative markets for farmer’s production, led by the FairTrade initiative and agro-processing efforts;
  •  
  • Building farmers ’ awareness on global and agricultural issues and developments, such as the implications of the World Trade Organization, the Lome Agreements, the Free-Trade Agreement of the Americas, Food Security, etc…;
  •  
  • Develop advocacy and lobbying capacity-building of farmers’ organizations, in order for them to speak of issues of concerns for farming communities.
  •  
  • Representing of farmers at policy-making levels (CARICOM, OECS Standing Committee of Ministers of Agriculture, National bodies, etc.);
  •  
  • Mainstreaming of gender-related issues in all WINFA programs;
  •  
  • Promote the democratic participation of farmers at all levels of the development process;
  •  
  • Work in collaboration with national unions to improve the socio economic well-being of farmers;
  •  
  • Contribute to the building of national and regional awareness and solidarity;
  •  
  • Collaborate with other national, regional and international organizations concerned with rural development, food production and farmers interests;
  •  
  • Create and forge alliances and linkages between farmers organizations in Latin America, Cuba, Dominican Republic and the other Caribbean islands;
  •  
  • International networking with farmers organizations, NGOs and development organizations in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

WINFA’s Efforts

WINFA is actively campaigning to promote the sale of Fair Trade bananas from the Windward Islands, which are being sold in supermarkets in England and some European countries. Banana is the major crop amongst WINFA farmers.

Although WINFA is representing all small-farmers producing food and cash crops, bananas are considered especially important and require a large part of the resources. A ‘banana desk’ was established in 1992 to deal specifically with the issues of banana farming, and a Fair Trade desk was established in 1999.

WINFA took over a strong advocacy role in defence of banana farmers and on issues such as EU Banana Regime, ACP/EU relations, the World Trade Organization’s negociation rounds and other major trade issues.

Over the past years, WINFA has been working to develop a small-farmers diversification programme, and to prepare and establish the basis for the introduction to a de-subsidized banana market in Europe.

The promotion of diversification includes linkages to tourism and agro-processing. WINFA also designed a series of training workshops in sustainable agriculture, as well as farmer exchange programmes with farmers organizations in the Caribbean and Latin America.

 

Particular attention is shown to the rights and needs of female farmers, many of whom are single-parents. Programmes of exchanges for women are carried out, and women are encouraged to participate actively in assemblies and exchanges.

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West Indies Rum & Sprits Association (WIRSPA)

January 19, 2016

West Indies Rum & Sprits Association (WIRSPA)

The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association Inc. (WIRSPA) is an ‘association of associations’ in that it represents distillers associations from across the ACP Caribbean*. WIRSPA is governed by a Board of Directors which meets several times a year. The Chairmanship rotates and is the subject of an annual election. The current Chairman is Dr. Frank Ward who is from Barbados. WIRSPA is currently implementing, on behalf of the CARIFORUM group of countries, a major EU funded project to modernise and stimulate the rum industry in the ACP Caribbean - the Integrated Development Programme for the Caribbean Rum Sector. One of the outcomes of this programme is the creation of an Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque.

*ACP stands for ‘Africa, Caribbean and Pacific’. The ACP Caribbean states are the countries that are signatories of the Lomé Convention signed in 1975. This was superseded by the Cotonou Agreement in June 2000.

Role & Vision

Our role is to promote the development of Caribbean rum as a premium category and to represent the interests of our member associations and in turn their member companies. This work includes trade facilitation and advocacy. WIRSPA also assists its members in improving methods of production through training seminars and the work of a technical committee that meets to discuss issues of common interest.

Our vision is to see rums carrying the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque in the top tier of the world drinks market, to ensure that trade customers understand the qualities that make Authentic Caribbean Rum worthy of its place in their portfolio and for consumers to recognise and appreciate the diversity and quality inherent within Authentic Caribbean Rum.

WIRSPA Structure

WIRSPA is managed by a Board of Directors that consists of the head of each of the national rum producer associations that make up the membership of WIRSPA. The Board meets several times a year to discuss industry issues. A Programme Management Unit, reporting to the Board of Directors, manages the implementation of the Integrated Development Programme for the Caribbean Rum Sector.

Members
 

     
  • WIRSPA is made up of associations from individual Caribbean territories.
  •  
  • Antigua Rum Producers’ Association
  •  
  • Asociacion Dominicana De Productores De Ron
  •  
  • Bahamas Spirits and Beer Manufacturers Association
  •  
  • Barbados Rum Committee
  •  
  • Distillers and Rum Producers of Guyana
  •  
  • Jamaica Rum & Spirits Trade Association
  •  
  • St Lucia Rum Producers’ Association
  •  
  • Suriname Rum Producers’ Foundation
  •  
  • Trinidad Rum Exporters’ Advisory Committee

Associate members
 

     
  • Belize Rum Producers’ Association
  •  
  • Grenada Rum & Spirits Producers’ Association
  •  
  • Haitian Rum Producers’ Association
  •  
  • St Vincent Rum Association

Trade Advocacy

WIRSPA is recognised regionally and internationally as the voice of the ACP Caribbean rum industry and the organisation works closely with the CARICOM Secretariat, CARIFORUM and Caribbean Governments to ensure that the industry’s position is fully taken into account in all relevant forums.

WIRSPA has a joint accord with CIRT-DOM, the rum industry in the French Overseas Departments (DOM) and is a partner member of The European Spirits Organisation (CEPS) which represents the interests of all European spirits producers. WIRSPA is also a member of the World Spirits Alliance which represents spirits producers’ interests in North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean.

Social Responsibility

Energy, Waste Treatment and the Environment

WIRSPA actively encourages best practice in energy efficiency, waste treatment and environmental protection. In addition to providing technical assistance on these issues the Integrated Development Programme for the Caribbean Rum Sector has co-financed a number of initiatives in several ACP Caribbean countries.

Corporate Social Responsibility

WIRSPA encourages all its member associations and associated members to be fully aware of their responsibilities to their wider communities and adopt both responsible and ethical business practices. This includes sound corporate governance and awareness of the impact of activities on employees, consumers, communities, stakeholders and the environment.

Responsible Drinking

Alcohol has long played an integral part in most societies and the place of rum in the social, cultural and historical make up of the Caribbean is well documented. However, WIRSPA is acutely aware of the potential impact, on both individuals and society, of inappropriate consumption. WIRSPA is committed to working towards minimising such behaviour in order to make responsible drinking a valued and enjoyable part of life in a modern, responsible society.

A key area of concern for educators, law enforcers and governments is the advertising and promotion of alcohol. WIRSPA fully supports the initiatives of The European Spirits Organisation, CEPS, and the World Spirits Alliance and has developed its own Code of Practice for Responsible Advertising and Marketing of Spirit Drinks.

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The Caribbean Banana Exporters’ Association (CBEA)

January 19, 2016

The Caribbean Banana Exporters’ Association (CBEA)

  The Caribbean Banana Exporters Association currently comprises representatives of banana exporting companies from all the Caribbean countries that are involved in the banana export trade. These are Belize, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Surinam and the four Windward Islands- St Lucia, Dominica, St Vincent & the Grenadines, and Grenada. The website contain information on the banana industry in the Caribbean and issues affecting its producers.

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Caribbean Poultry Association (CPA)

January 19, 2016

The Caribbean Poultry Association (CPA) was established in 1999 to promote the development of the Caribbean broiler and table egg industries. Its activities revolve around the pursuit of four main objectives:

 

     
  • To improve the competitiveness of the industry
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  • To collaborate with Governments to improve public sector services to the industry
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  • To promote trade & domestic policy supportive of the industry’s development
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  • To promote and represent the industry in national, regional and international fora

The CPA was formally incorporated in Jamaica in April 2000 and is recognized by the CARICOM Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) as the voice of the regional industry. There are currently 18 members, 15 poultry companies and three national associations from nine CARICOM countries which altogether account for over 70% of the region’s production. The Officers of the Association are rotated on an annual basis.

 

     
  • President - Mr. Peter De Freitas - Chairman, Chickmont Foods Ltd. Barbados
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  • Vice President - Mr. Christopher Levy - CEO, Jamaica Broilers Group Ltd., Jamaica
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  • Secretary - Mr. Robin Phillips - Marketing Director, Arawak Ltd. Trinidad & Tobago
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  • Executive Director - Dr. Desmond A. Ali - Trinidad & Tobago

The CPA is also committed to the development of the regional agro industry and in this regard is a member of the following:

 

     
  • Caribbean Agri-business Association (CABA)
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  • Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC)
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  • Latin American Poultry Association (ALA)

 

The CPA recognizes the imperative of collaborating with national governments in this new globalized environment and seeks to work closely with our colleagues in the public sector to develop all our projects. We are also resolved to maximize the use of the resources available to the regional agro food sector to implement the Industry Development Strategy being pursued by our members. In this regard, we have sought support from technical and financing agencies such as CDB, CEDP, UWI, IICA, CPEC, CDE, EBAS, and the FAO.

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Caribbean Network of Rural Women Producers (CANROP)

January 19, 2016

What is CANROP?

The Caribbean Network of Rural Women Producers (CANROP), is the umbrella organization that embraces national chapters of rural women’s associations in the Caribbean.  The regional network is a non-profit organization.  The Network was formally launched in 1999, to create a single entity of already existing associations of rural women producers.  These associations had been established in response to the need to equip women with technical, administrative and entrepreneurial skills as a means to improving their socio-economic status and create employment in the rural areas in which they live. 

Currently, CANROP’s regional affiliations include: Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. 

The Network is a member of the Alliance for Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu (The Alliance) and is supported by the Offices of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in the Caribbean.

What is the mission of CANROP?

 

The mission of CANROP is to empower rural women to improve their standard of living. This is done through training, cultural exchanges, networking and promoting inter- and in intra-regional trade. It facilitates access to specialized credit, seeks to create sustainable employment opportunities and undertakes advocacy to sensitize society to the needs and contributions of women in agriculture.

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Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN)

January 19, 2016

The Caribbean Farmers’ Network (CaFAN) was formed in 2004 as a regional network of farmers’ organizations/groups and non-governmental organizations in the Caribbean. The main goal of CAFAN is to improve the quality of life for farmers, especially small farm families, throughout the Caribbean. Projects being pursued by CAFAN will provide greater linkages for small markets to non-traditional markets with an emphasis being placed on food safety and quality assurance.

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Caribbean Agricultural Forum for Youth (CAFY)

January 19, 2016

The Caribbean Agricultural Forum for Youth was Launched June14, 2002 in Barbados. This forum promotes active youth involvement in agriculture in the Caribbean community.

CAFY Member countries include:

     
  • Antigua and Barbuda
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  • Barbados
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  • Dominica
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  • Grenada
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  • Guyana
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  • St. Kitts/ Nevis
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  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
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  • Suriname
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  • St. Lucia
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  • Trinidad and Tobago.

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Caribbean Agribusiness Association (CABA)

January 19, 2016

About CABA

The Caribbean AgriBusiness Association (CABA) represents the Caribbean Region’s first agricultural association. It was officially established in May 1998.

CABA was founded as an integrated and vital agricultural mechanism to provide a collective negotiating voice for the agribusiness sub-sector and further stimulate agribusiness growth and trade in the Region.

CABA is dedicated to promoting a common agribusiness interest through concentrated and consolidated action, and to be an effective advocate of agribusiness interest before governments in the Region

Endorsement

CABA is endorsed and supported by the Inter- American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Hemispheric’s specialised agency for agricultural development.

With IICA’s presence in the 34 democratically elected countries of the Western Hemisphere and working relationship with the Hemisphere’s Ministers of Agriculture, IICA can provide CABA with the integral contacts to both the private and public agri-business sectors.

Through the IICA alliance, CABA has access to a wealth of agricultural research, including policy analyses, trade statistics and information on trends in technological innovations for agriculture.

Objectives
 

     
  •  To coordinate the efforts of agribusiness throughout the Region for the purpose of promoting a common interest through collective action so as to ensure the sustainability of the sector.
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  • To promote and advance the social and economic conditions of those engaged in agricultural pursuits.
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  • To assist in the formulation and promotion of regional agricultural policies to meet changing national and international economic conditions.
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  • To promote and maintain critical linkages between the agribusiness sector and other sectors, including banking, transportation and tourism.
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  • To actively provide relevant trade and market information to assist the region’s agribusiness in negotiations and trade.

Benefits
You will be a member of the most comprehensive and powerful voice for the Caribbean private agribusiness sector. CABA represents your views and positions to the governments and negotiating teams of the various trade negotiations.
With representation in all CARICOM countries, Miami, and Washington, DC, through its relationship with the Inter American institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, CABA can source the most complete and up to the minute trade information for your business.
Members are entitled to free websites advertising their businesses to the world on the hemisphere’s most comprehensive agricultural information network on the World Wide Web - AgroInfo Americas.
Members are eligible to receive sponsorship to existing trade shows, important meetings and seminars throughout the world.
Members enjoy discounted inscriptions to agribusiness events throughout the world.

     
  • Political Representation
     
  • Timely Trade Information
     
  • Marketing Assistance
     
  • Sponsorship Opportunities
     
  • Discounts

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WTO Agriculture Negotiations

January 19, 2016

The other major negotiation in which the Caribbean is involved is the WTO negotiations under the Doha Work Programme. The WTO negotiations flow from the Doha Ministerial Declaration of November 2001. Originally slated to conclude in December 2004, these talks have proceeded slowly and have been marked by a failure to meet most deadlines. The most recent developments have been the July/August 2004 decision of the General Council on a “framework” for modalities, and the 6th Ministerial held in Hong Kong in December 2005 at which minor progress was made in advancing the agenda.

The July 2004 Framework was the first major development in the WTO agriculture talks since the issuing of the Doha Ministerial Declaration itself. The framework was an attempt at devising partial modalities that would guide future commitments under the round and included, among other things, agreement on a “tiered formula” for tariff reduction (in which tariffs are categorized according to their height and with deeper cuts made to higher tariffs), confirmation that tariff reduction will be made from bound (and not applied) rates, recognition of the concept of “sensitive products” (which would not be subject to formula cuts but for which additional access would be given though tariff quota expansion), recognition of the concept of “special products” to address development concerns developing countries, and which would be accorded “more flexible treatment”; and agreement that developing countries will have access to a new Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM).

 

For additional information on the Caribbean negotiations at the WTO, please see a paper presented by the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery Twenty-First Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) Trinidad & Tobago, May 12-13, 2006 on AGRICULTURAL TRADE NEGOTIATIONS

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The CARIFORUM-European Community Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Agricultural and Fishe

January 19, 2016

Agriculture and fisheries represented two of the key subjects in the EPA negotiations in terms of both market access and development cooperation. From the outset, the CARIFORUM side emphasized the need to have these sectors recognized for the important contribution they make to food security, export earnings and rural development.

Introduction

Agriculture and fisheries represented two of the key subjects in the EPA negotiations in terms of both market access and development cooperation. From the outset, the CARIFORUM side emphasized the need to have these sectors recognized for the important contribution they make to food security, export earnings and rural development.

The EPA, which was initialled by chief negotiators on December 16, 2007, may be said to hold the following advantages for the agricultural and fisheries sectors:

a)      it preserves Cotonou preferences —the alternative would have been the Generalized Scheme of preferences (GSP), which excludes most important preference-related exports and would have meant the demise of certain exports to the EU

b)       it provides additional market access by allowing for duty-free and quota-free access for all products – under the Cotonou Agreement, the EU maintained tariffs / tariff quota restrictions on a range of agricultural products including  almost all cereals, sugar, meat, dairy, and a range of fruit and vegetables.

c)        it allows region to continue protecting all its sensitive agricultural products (e.g. sugar, rice, poultry, citrus). Agriculture and fisheries are the sectors in which CARIFORUM excludedthe most products from tariff elimination commitments measuring 75% of the value of imports from the EU. Major exclusions are live animals, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and cheese, wines and spirits, non-alcoholic beverages, and various processed agricultural products

d)      provides for safeguards, which recognize the special conditions under which agricultural products are traded

e)      the agreement explicitly provides for development assistance in a number of areas

 

Chapter on Agriculture and Fisheries

After much initial resistance from the EU, CARIFORUM was able to achieve the insertion into the Agreement of a full chapter on Agriculture and Fisheries.  Chapter 5 of Title I of Part II of the Agreement [1]sets out the objectives, which include sustainable development and exploitation, and increased competitiveness, and special mention is made of the contribution of these sectors to poverty eradication, food security and diversification. There is a commitment on the part of the Parties to engage in a process of dialogue in a range of areas, including technology, developmental experiences, investment promotion, policies and institutional issues. In addition, the EU has made specific commitments on development cooperation,which cover the following:

a)      Improvement in the competitiveness of potentially viable production, including downstream processing through innovation, training, promotion of linkages and other support activities, in agricultural and fisheries products, including both traditional and non traditional export sectors;

b)      Development of export marketing capabilities, including market research, both for trade between CARIFORUM States and  between the Parties as well as the identification of options for the improvement of marketing infrastructure and transportation, and the identification of financing and cooperation options for producers and traders;

c)       Compliance with and adoption of quality standards relating to food production and marketing, including standards relating to environmentally and socially sound agricultural practices and organic and non-genetically modified foods;

d)      Promotion of private investment and public-private partnerships in potentially viable production;

e)      Improvement in the ability of CARIFORUM operators to comply with national, regional and international technical, health and quality standards for fish and fish products;

f)       Building or strengthening the scientific and technical human and institutional capability at regional level for sustainable trade in fisheries products, including aquaculture; and

g)      Supporting the process of dialogue referred to above.

Export subsidies – the Agreement (Article 28) commits the EU to the elimination of export subsidies on all agricultural products for which CARIFORUM has agreed to eliminate tariffs. This will be done according to modalities to be agreed at the level of the Trade & Development Committee of the EPA. CARIFORUM will not be required to eliminate any export subsidies that are applied in accordance with its rights under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.

 

Market Access Provisions

In respect of CARIFORUM’s additional access to the EU market, the following should be noted. Apart from rice and sugar (see section on commodities below[EG1] ), all of CARIFORUM’s exports will be granted full duty-free and quota-free access from the entry into force of the agreement (Annex 2)[2]. Under the Cotonou Agreement, the only products on which EU maintained tariffs against ACP[3] exports were agricultural items. An examination of Declaration XXII of that agreement will reveal the range of products subject to such tariffs, which were in most cases prohibitive. These covered almost all cereals, sugar, meat, dairy, and a range of fruit and vegetables. The EPA therefore provides CARIFORUM with the opportunity to exploit markets which had previously been denied to it. It would therefore be useful to examine in detail the list of newly liberalized products to determine what opportunities now exist for Caribbean exporters

In respect of the treatment agricultural and fisheries products in CARIFORUM’s tariff elimination commitments, it should first be noted that, of the average annual value of imports from the EU for the 2002-2004 period, 75% were completely excluded, i.e. CARIFORUM will not be required to reduce its tariffs on any of the those products. In terms of the number of tariff lines, 45% were excluded. Key excluded products include poultry and most meat and meat products, fisheries products, most fruits and vegetables, beverages, sauces, condiments; Rum, other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, ethanol, vvegetable oil and ornamental plants and flowers.

Regarding those products on which tariff elimination commitments have been made, the phasing-in of those commitments reflects the highly defensive position taken by CARIFORUM in the negotiations. Products that are to be liberalized in the initial period (after a moratorium of three years) are essentially those on which applied tariffs are already zero or low (e.g. animal offal, planting material and animals for breeding). The following table sets out the number and percentage of tariff lines to be liberalized within each phase.
 

                   
# Tariff Lines % Agro Tariff Lines
Total in chapters 1-24 (inc fish): 721 100%
of which excluded: 324 45%
of which phased:
0 years[4] 34 5%
5 years 18 2%
10 years 156 22%
15 years 50 7%
20 years 69 10%
25years 70 10%

It will be seen that liberalization commitments have been heavily back-loaded with 29% of tariff lines being subject to tariff elimination by the end of year 10. Highly sensitive products (other than those excluded) have been given up to 25 years to have their tariffs removed.

Rules of Origin

The rules of origin provisions of the agreement follow the same model as those in the Cotonou Agreement. CARIFORUM made a number of proposals for changes to the rules of which all but a few were accepted. For the most part, the new rules involve a relaxation of the requirement to utilize domestic raw materials. The products include jams and jellies, fruit juices and other beverages.

However, “cumulation”[5] will not be allowed for CARIFORUM states in respect of a list of sugar-containing products and for rice until after October 1, 2015. This essentially means that, for any of the products excluded from cumulation, the raw materials must originate in the producing country.

Safeguards

There are no safeguards that are specific to agriculture. The CARIFORUM side had sought such a safeguard but was able to concede this due to the high level of exclusions and long phase-in periods that it obtained for agricultural products. Nevertheless, the general safeguard provisions of the Agreement (Article 25), which will last for 10 years, recognize the peculiar circumstances under which agricultural products are traded in that it lists “disturbances in the markets of like or directly competitive agricultural products or in the mechanisms regulating those markets” as one of the bases for taking safeguard actions. The measures that may be taken are a) a suspension of further  customs duty reduction b) an increase in the customs duty to a level no higher than the MFN rate and c) introduction of tariff quotas on the product concerned. These measures may be taken for two years at a time and may be extended for a further two years. While each party is required to notify the other side of its intention to take safeguard measures and stay its hand for 30 days pending discussions, in exceptional circumstances the country wishing to take the measure may proceed to do so without prior notification to the other side. Such measures may, in the case of CARIFORUM countries or the EU’s ‘outmost regions’ last for 200 days, or in the case of the EU, for 180 days.

None of the above will prejudice the right of any part to use of multilateral safeguards as provided for in the Agreement on Safeguards and Article 5 of the Agreement on Agriculture (Special Agricultural Safeguard)

Commodities – Sugar, Bananas, Rice and Rum

The agreement contains an article (Article 42), which commits the EU to engage in prior consultations with CARIFORUM on any policy developments that my impact on the competitive position of the region’s traditional exports on the EU market. This is particularly important in terms of any planned liberalization of the market by the EU in the context of the WTO and bilateral free trade agreements (such as those between the EU and the banana exporting Central American and Andean countries) but also extends to the EU’s internal regulatory framework.

Sugar – The CARIFORUM region gained additional access to the EU market of 60,000 tonnes (i.e. over and above the quantities available to Sugar Protocol signatories) for the period up to the end of September 2009.  Of the additional amount, 30,000 tonnes will go to the Sugar Protocol (i.e. CARICOM) countries and the remainder to the Dominican Republic.

While the Sugar Protocol remains in effect (up to the end of September 2009) the EU has given assurances that it will seek to ensure that any shortfalls on the SP quotas are reallocated among other CARICOM countries. This is contained in a declaration attached to the agreement.[6] This was a key demand from the CARIFORUM side.

After September 30, 2009, the Sugar Protocol will no longer be in effect and CARIFORUM exports to the EU will be free of duty. However, between October 1, 2009 and September 2015, the EU could impose tariffs on CARIFORUM and other ACP exports coming from non-LDCs provided that the quantities coming from the ACP as a whole in any marketing year exceeds 3.5 million tonnes and the amount from non-LDCs exceeds 1.38 million tonnes. LDCs will not be subject to any additional duties under this measure.

While the agreement limits, until 2015, the ability of CARIFORUM countries to “cumulate” with each other and with other ACP States in respect of a number of manufactured products that contain sugar, the EU has committed to reviewing that list of products, with a view to reducing it, at the end of three years following signature of the agreement.

Rice – For a period of two years leading up to full duty-free and quota-free access, CARIFORUM rice exporting countries will be given quotas of 187,000 tonnes for 2008 and 250,000 tonnes for 2009. The quotas will be duty-free compared to the approximately €65 per tonne currently paid. The present quota available to the ACP (Guyana and Suriname) amounts to 145,000 tonnes and the proposed quotas for 2008 and 2009 would therefore represent increases of 29% and 72%, respectively. Further, the new arrangement makes no distinction between whole grain and broken rice, which means that CARIFORUM exporters should be better able to target the higher-priced market for whole grain rice, once supplies are available. In addition, the agreement contains a joint declaration committing the EU to keeping the licencing and other arrangements relating to the quota under review with aim of ensuring that CARIFORUM exporters obtain the maximum benefit from the trade.

Bananas –Bananas will gain full duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market from the inception of the EPA.  In effect, the recent ruling of the WTO dispute settlement panel against the EU’s preferences granted to ACP banana exporters will become null and void insofar as CARIFORUM banana exports are concerned since the duty-free preferences will now be protected under WTO rules governing free trade areas.

The agreement also contains a comprehensive Joint Declaration on Bananas[7] in which the importance of the industry to several CARIFORUM countries is fully acknowledged, and which also recognizes the need for the EU to maintain significant preferences for the product. Importantly, the Declaration also commits the EU to provide funding to assist the industry in making the necessary adjustments, including diversification initiatives, and addressing the social impacts that may arise from the new trading environment.

Fisheries

The fisheries sector in CARIFORUM is explicitly recognized in the EPA through the provisions contained in the Chapter on Agriculture and Fisheries. This Chapter acknowledges the social and economic importance of the fisheries sector and the need to maximize the benefits of its sustainable exploitation in relation to factors such as food security, employment, poverty alleviation, foreign exchange earnings and social stability of fishing communities. It goes on to recognize the fragile nature of the region’s complex and highly diverse fisheries and marine eco-systems and thus the need to employ effective and scientifically-based conservation and management techniques in its exploitation. Further, in view of the importance of safeguarding the livelihoods of fishing communities, the EPA recognizes the need to avoid any major disruption of markets for fish products in CARIFORUM States.

 

These objectives are translated into concrete measures in the following ways. First, the EU and CARIFORUM have agreed to establish an information exchange and consultation process that would focus, inter alia, on production, consumption and marketing; technology development; investment promotion; and policy-related issues. Next, specific projects will be drawn up and implemented with EU funding to address areas such as processing, marketing, improving compliance with technical and quality standards, investment promotion, and building regional intuitional capacity for sustainable management and trade in fisheries products.

 In relation to the tariff liberalization for fisheries products, the following should be noted. Of the total imports by CARIFORUM of fisheries products from the EU, which averaged US$9,643,723 for the 2002-2004 period, CARIFORUM will totally exclude 66% from any liberalization commitment. Of the remainder, 33% will be liberalized in 20 years and an additional 1% in 25 years. The products to be liberalized are those not generally produced in the region, such as salmon, herrings, mackerel, sardines and cod. As with all market access commitments, CARIFORUM will not be required to undertake any tariff reductions until 2011. All fish and fish products entering the EU market will be duty-free and quota-free, thereby locking in the preferences that existed under the Cotonou Agreement.

CARIFORUM has also committed to eliminating the duties on fishing vessels at the start of its tariff liberalization programme, i.e. 2011. Elimination of duties on other inputs, such as fishing nets and rods will take place over a 15 year period.

The Rules of Origin for fisheries products have also been adjusted, compared to those applicable under the Cotonou Agreement. One such innovation allows processed fish products, such as fillets and dried or salted fish, to qualify for duty free treatment even though the raw material would have been accessed outside of the territorial waters of the country, subject to the qualification that the value of the non-originating materials must not exceed 15% of the ex works price of the finished product.

The rules, as they stand, require that fish will only qualify for “originating” or preferential treatment once they are obtained either a) from inland waters or within the territorial waters (12 nautical miles) of the states, or b) by vessels of either the CARIFORUM states or the EU. Notwithstanding the basic rule based on the ownership of vessels, the EU has committed to allowing fish caught in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of CARIFORUM states to qualify for origin treatment, provided that this is done with vessels leased or chartered by operators of the CARIFORUM country, and that EU operators would have been given the right of first refusal. A similar, though not identical, provision existed under the Cotonou Agreement.

CARIFORUM countries did, however, argue for a more complete overhaul of the Rules of Origin for fisheries. African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states have long insisted that fish caught within their EEZs, and obligatorily landed in their states, should automatically qualify as originating goods but this has been opposed by the EU. To this end, a declaration on the part of CARIFORUM countries has been attached to the EPA text, which sets out the group’s position and signals that the issue will be brought up for further negotiation in the future. In addition, both CARIFORUM and the EU have committed in another declaration to continue examining the issue, within the Special Committee on Customs Cooperation and Trade Facilitation, with a view to reaching a satisfactory solution.

With respect to commitments on investment in the fisheries sector through “commercial presence”, (dealt with under the Title on Services and Investment) several CARIFORUM states have indicated reservations on the entry of EU investors to the industry. Most have indicated that they reserve the right to adopt or maintain measures on investment in the sector. For some states, there are differential requirements (such as fees) for nationals and non-nationals in the eligibility for fishing licences, restriction of foreign licences to nationals of countries with which the state has a treaty, and restriction of entry into the artisanal fishery to nationals.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)

The EPA does not require CARIFORUM to assume any commitments additional to those under the relevant WTO agreements. However, both sides have committed to instituting “early warning” mechanisms by which they would inform each other ahead of time of any contemplated measures that could affect trade between them or problems that arise during trade. Further, the EU has committed to providing assistance to CARIFORUM in building capacity (including harmonized technical regulations), sharing expertise in specific disciplines, and in respect of participation in international standards setting bodies. In relation to SPS in particular, CARIFORUM has agreed to designate “competent authorities”  in each state, and to channel, as much as possible, all information regarding the implementation of the SPS chapter though a representative regional body. The latter therefore has implications for the early establishment of CAHFSA.

Other Issues

Export duties – elimination within three years of signature of the agreement. Countries affected as Guyana and Suriname. The products involved are, for Guyana, unrefined sugar, molasses, aquarium fish and some forestry products; and for Suriname, a range of forestry products.

Intellectual Property – There are two areas under the Intellectual Property provisions that are of particular relevance to agriculture. The first relates to Geographical Indications (GIs)[8] while the other relates to Plant Varieties.

CARIFORUM has agreed to extend the level of GI protection which, under the WTO TRIPS Agreement is applicable to GIs used for wines and spirits, to GIs used for other food and agricultural products. However, the parties shall only be required to protect GIs that are protected in their country of origin. This means that, if in a CARIFORUM country a GI used on a certain product is protected under its own legislation, its right holder can request the EU to protect that same product, and vice versa. Once a product receives GI protection, no other product can be traded under the same description, e.g. as Blue Mountain coffee or specific kinds of Mozzerella cheese. The EU has also committed to assisting CARIFORUM in developing its own GIs. Some CARIFORUM countries have indicated an interest in receiving GI protection for certain products, e.g. Guyana in the case of Demerara Sugar.

The article on Plant Varieties (Article 149) gives the parties the right to provide for exceptions to exclusive rights granted to plant breeders to allow farmers, particularly small farmers, to save, use and exchange protected farm-saved seed or propagating material. This provision on “farmers’ rights” is not included in the WTO TRIPS Agreement.

Environment - The purpose of this Chapter is to provide a framework within the Partnership that facilitates the development of trade between the Parties in a manner that promotes environmental protection and preservation. The express right of the Parties to regulate in accordance with their own sustainable development priorities is recognized, provided that such regulation does not constitute arbitrary or unjustifiable restrictions on trade between the Parties. The majority of the Chapter is “best endeavor” in nature, allowing CARIFORUM States to enact and implement measures in accordance with their own needs.

Labour - Chapter 5 of TITLE IV (Trade Related Issues), is, in essence, a re-affirmation of existing commitments of CARIFORUM States, specifically a commitment to the core labour standards as defined by the ILO. One important aspect of this Chapter is the commitment that labour standards not be used for protectionist trade purposes. This will help to ensure that trade practices do not undermine social and socio-economic objectives. The express right of the Parties to regulate in accordance with their own social development priorities is recognized, provided that such regulation encourages high levels of social and labour standards consistent with the core rights and standards identified by the ILO. The majority of the Chapter is “best endeavor” in nature, allowing CARIFORUM States to enact and implement measures in accordance with their own needs.

 

Taken from presentation by Mr. Nigel Durrant  at  the Guyana Bank of Industry & Commerce Business Forum Monday, June 2, 2008 at the Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana

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Caribbean Basin Initiative with the United States of America

January 19, 2016

The Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) was initially launched in 1983 through the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) and was expanded in 2000 through the US-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA). However, under US legislation the termination of the effect of CBTPA was scheduled 30 September 2008. To operate legally under the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the CBERA and CBTPA require a waiver approved by all other WTO Members. The waiver on CBERA expired on 31 December 2005 and the request by the US for the continuation of the waiver is still not being agreed to by Paraguay. The US is therefore unilaterally implementing CBERA in the absence of the waiver, which also covers CBTPA procedures.

On March 24, 2009, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Council for Trade in Goods approved the long standing waiver request from the US on the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). The approval of the waiver which will remain valid until 2014, provides the legal authorization for CARICOM to export goods covered under CBERA to the US duty-free. 

 

Further development on CARICOM-US trade negotiations has been deferred until after the completion of the negotiation of a Trade and Development Agreement with Canada.

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CARICOM-Canada Trade & Development Agreement

January 19, 2016

Trade and economic relations between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Canada date back to the early 18th century when the British Northern Atlantic colonies exchanged fish, lumber and other staples for West Indian rum, molasses and spices.   The current trade and economic co-operation relations are covered under a number of instruments, namely, the 1979 CARICOM-Canada Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement  and its Protocols, including the CARICOM-Canada 1998 Protocol on RumCARIBCAN Agreement which is a non-reciprocal preferential trade agreement that grants unilateral duty free access to eligible goods from beneficiary countries in the English-speaking Caribbean up to 2011.

CARICOM and Canada are currently engaged in negotiations for a Trade & Development Agreement, which will replace the current non-reciprocal Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement known as CARIBCAN. The WTO waiver, which allows Canada to grant such non-reciprocal preferences, is due to expire on December 31, 2013. CARICOM’s interests in the agriculture and fisheries aspects of the negotiations are set out in CARICOM-Canada Negotiations: Prospects for the CARICOM Agriculture and Fisheries Sector.

 

For more detailed information on the overall negotiations, visit the website of the Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN) of the CARICOM Secretariat and click on the tab for “Negotiating Arenas”.

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Bilateral Arrangements Latin American and Caribbean Nations

January 19, 2016

CARICOM’s trade relations with countries within the wider region have improved appreciably within the last decade. Trade between CARICOM has increased noticeably as a percentage with the world as a whole.

The Heads of CARICOM agreed in 1996 to give priority to negotiating free trade agreements with selected Latin American and the wider Caribbean region. This has led to bilateral trade agreements with the following;

     
  • CARICOM-Cuba
  • o   The CARICOM/Cuba Agreement is a partial scope agreement that was signed on July 5, 2000. o   The CARICOM-Venezuela Trade and Investment Agreement was signed in October 1992 and became effective on 1 January 1993.  The Agreement is a one-way preferential agreement concluded under the facility for non-reciprocal partial scope agreements available to members of the Latin American Integration Association (LAIA). o   The first Bilateral Agreement between CARICOM and Columbia was secured in July 1994 and began as a non-reciprocal agreement with provision for a level of reciprocity to Colombia after a period of four years. CARICOM negotiated some reciprocity in the trade elements of the Agreement on Trade and Technical Cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Colombia, through a Protocol amending the original Agreement which was ratified in May 1998. o   The CARICOM-Dominican Republic was entered into force in December 2001 and is based on reciprocity with the five CARICOM MDCs and non-reciprocity with the LDCs until the year 2005.  It provides for the asymmetrical application of the reciprocity principle as CARICOM LDCs are not required to reciprocate treatment. In August 2005, it was decided by the CARICOM – DR Joint Council that negotiating groups on Intellectual Property Rights and Services would be established with a view to implementing the built-in agenda component CARICOM- DR FTA. These trade negotiations has however been deferred until after the completion of the negotiation of a Trade and Development Agreement between CARICOM and Canada. The CARICOM-Costa Rica bilateral agreement which was initialled on March 15, 2003 is the most recent bilateral agreement between CARICOM and a third country within the Central Americas.  Although some products have been excluded, the Agreement provides for free trade or preferential access for a wide range of products.  A special list of products will be granted differentiated market access between Costa Rica and each of the CARICOM MDCs.

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CARICOM-Canada Trade & Development Agreement

January 19, 2016

Trade and economic relations between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Canada date back to the early 18th century when the British Northern Atlantic colonies exchanged fish, lumber and other staples for West Indian rum, molasses and spices.   The current trade and economic co-operation relations are covered under a number of instruments, namely, the 1979 CARICOM-Canada Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement  and its Protocols, including the CARICOM-Canada 1998 Protocol on RumCARIBCAN Agreement which is a non-reciprocal preferential trade agreement that grants unilateral duty free access to eligible goods from beneficiary countries in the English-speaking Caribbean up to 2011.

CARICOM and Canada are currently engaged in negotiations for a Trade & Development Agreement, which will replace the current non-reciprocal Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement known as CARIBCAN. The WTO waiver, which allows Canada to grant such non-reciprocal preferences, is due to expire on December 31, 2013. CARICOM’s interests in the agriculture and fisheries aspects of the negotiations are set out in CARICOM-Canada Negotiations: Prospects for the CARICOM Agriculture and Fisheries Sector.

 

For more detailed information on the overall negotiations, visit the website of the Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN) of the CARICOM Secretariat and click on the tab for “Negotiating Arenas”.

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Hi-tech agriculture is freeing the farmer from his fields

October 21, 2015

The big, blue 18-tonne New Holland T8.435 tractor is not the heaviest or the tallest in the world but its £3,000 tyres and tank-style tracks stand two metres high, it bristles with antenna and at, about £250,000, it must be one of the most expensive.

For that, the farmer gets a monster machine that is revolutionising big farming, field by field. Its steering is assisted by satellite, it downloads data about crops and soil straight to agronomists and farm managers, works 24-7, can link with ground sensors and drones using infrared thermal cameras and tell to within a square metre the size of a field and where the most fertile or waterlogged places are.

Better still, says Johnny Spence, a young driver from Northern Ireland demonstrating it on a large arable farm near Darlington last month, it’s as comfortable as a saloon car.

“I could spend 18 hours a day in it, no problem. It lets me spend more time looking at the field rather than trying to steer it. It makes a poor driver good, and a good driver better. It’s brilliant to drive.”

But the T8.435 is the very big tip of a huge change taking place in Britain’s fields. According to Ken Grimsdell, whose company is growing crops on 1,600 hectares (4,000 acres) in the Midlands, a farm manager may soon be able to live and work in Germany, run machines in Essex, download weather data from the US and sell the produce on the global market.

For more of this story visit: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/20/hi-tech-agriculture-is-freeing-farmer-from-his-fields

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The CARICOM Single Market and Economy

October 03, 2015

Summary:

  The CARICOM Single Market and Economy is an integrated envisioned at the 10th Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which took place in July 1989 in Grand Anse, Grenada. In the Grande Anse Declaration and Work programme for the Advancement of the Integration Movement, the Heads of Government expressed their determination to work towards establishing a single market and economy.

 

  The Grande Anse Declaration contained three main features:

  1. Deepening economic integration by advancing beyond a common market towards a Single Market and Economy.

  2. Widening membership and thereby expanding the economic mass of the Caribbean Community.

  3. Progressive insertion of the region into the global trading and economic system by strengthening trading links with non-traditional partners.

  The predecessor of CARICOM and its CSME was the Caribbean Free Trade Agreement which was formed in 1965 and dissolved in 1973.

  The CARICOM Single Market and Economy is intended to benefit the people of the Region by providing better opportunities to produce and sell goods and services and to attract investment. It will also create one large marketplace among member states.

  The CSME has as its main objectives
It is anticipated that attainment of these objectives will provide improved standards of living, work and sustained economic development.

     
  • Full use of labour and full exploitation of the other factors of production, i.e., natural resources and capital.
     
  • Competitive production leading to greater variety and quantity of products and services to trade with other countries.

  Key elements of the Single Market and Economy include:

  Free movement of goods and services - through measures such as eliminating all barriers to intra-regional movement and harmonising standards to ensure acceptability of goods and services traded;

  Right of Establishment - to permit the establishment of CARICOM owned businesses in any Member State without restrictions;

  A Common External Tariff - a rate of duty applied by all Members of the Market to a product imported from a country which is not a member of the market;

  Free circulation - free movement of goods imported from extra regional sources which would require collection of taxes at first point of entry into the Region and the provision for sharing of collected customs revenue;

  Free movement of Capital - through measures such as eliminating foreign exchange controls, convertibility of currencies (or a common currency) and integrated capital market, such as a regional stock exchange;

  A Common trade policy - agreement among the members on matters related to internal and international trade and a coordinated external trade policy negotiated on a joint basis;

  Free movement of labour - through measures such as removing all obstacles to intra-regional movement of skills, labour and travel, harmonising social services (education, health, etc.), providing for the transfer of social security benefits and establishing common standards and measures for accreditation and equivalency.

  Other measures:

  Harmonisation of Laws: such as the harmonisation of company, intellectual property and other laws.

  There are also a number of economic, fiscal and monetary measures and policies which are also important to support the proper functioning of the CSME.

  These include:

  Economic Policy measure: coordinating and converging macro-economic policies and performance; harmonising foreign investment policy and adopting measures to acquire, develop and transfer appropriate technology;

  Monetary Policy measures: coordinating exchange rate and interest rate policies as well as the commercial banking market;

  Fiscal Policy measures: including coordinating indirect taxes and national budget deficits.

  Useful links

  Caribbean Single Market and Economy Unit

  CSME website of Trinidad and Tobago

  Talk CSME

  This is a blog set up to generate discussions on the CSME. The objective of the blog is to educate and inform Caribbean people about the CSME.

  Private Sector Trade Note Vol. 15 - CARICOM’s Export Overview

  Private Sector Trade Note Volume 9 - CARICOM’s Essential Oils Trade

 

  Private Sector Trade Note Vol. 3 - CARICOM’s Fertilizers (Urea) Trade

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Trade Agreements & Negotiations

October 03, 2015

Summary:

  The CARICOM agricultural sector is characterized by a combination of small and medium-scale enterprises both at the primary and secondary stages of production. The historical domination of the sector by plantation export agriculture has all but disappeared in some countries but retains its significance in a select number. The bulk of the sector consists of highly diversified, mainly domestic-oriented enterprises. Intra-regional trade is similarly highly diversified but is limited, among other things, by issues of transportation, non-tariff restrictions and poor facilities for bulking up and handling. Exports to both CARICOM and non-CARICOM destinations are characterized, for the most part, by low volumes with certain notable exceptions.

 

  Background

  The CARICOM agricultural sector is characterized by a combination of small and medium-scale enterprises both at the primary and secondary stages of production. The historical domination of the sector by plantation export agriculture has all but disappeared in some countries but retains its significance in a select number. The bulk of the sector consists of highly diversified, mainly domestic-oriented enterprises. Intra-regional trade is similarly highly diversified but is limited, among other things, by issues of transportation, non-tariff restrictions and poor facilities for bulking up and handling. Exports to both CARICOM and non-CARICOM destinations are characterized, for the most part, by low volumes with certain notable exceptions.

  The current agricultural and rural model in the Caribbean is based on a combination of historical plantation structures and low input peasant-type production units and is under considerable pressure. Contributing factors include:

  i) the continuous decline in the attractiveness of traditional export markets

  ii) increasing competition from larger scale producers on both export and domestic markets, and

  iii) high production costs.

  Of these, the last is probably the most crucial. Factor costs (both domestic and imported) are high by developing country standards. The labour constraint is particularly great in countries with significant tourist and oil sectors. Land is also a scarce and increasingly expensive resource, and not only in the smaller islands. Water resources are also scarce in some cases, and water management capabilities are often deficient. Financing costs vary considerably but are generally high. Operations costs – energy, transportation and communications – are in some cases prohibitive. On the other hand, the human resources available to the sector are of a reasonably high quality - literacy levels are high by developing country standards, and the ability to absorb new technology is also reasonably high.

  Thus, agricultural policy in CARICOM is conditioned mainly by perceptions of the sector’s uncompetitiveness and the concomitant need to protect it from international competition. This has underpinned the region’s position in all international negotiations

  Nevertheless, it is also recognized that that, in order for the sector to survive and prosper,there must be a transformation of the production structures, and a reorientation of investment decisions and strategies. The future of Caribbean agriculture lies in production of value-added goods and services, and to achieve this, it is necessary to ensure that producers receive the right incentives, and that governments make strategic investments of an institutional and infrastructural type that will bolster the potential of the sector and assist with its transformation. Depending on protection alone will not provide the impetus for transformation, especially given the small size of the CARICOM market. Indeed, there is a downside to protectionism in that it disconnects domestic production from the price signals and other dynamics of the international market thereby stymieing the competitive ability of the very producers that it is meant to help.

  Benefits of Trade Agreements

  Trade agreements—free trade areas (FTAs), customs unions etc.—have the benefit of givinglegal certainty and predictability to operators in the marketplace. Although CARICOM has enjoyed duty-free access to its major markets for several decades, under arrangements such as the Lomé/Cotonou Trade Partnership Agreements with the European Union[1], the Caribbean Basin Initiative of the US[2], and the Canadian trade programme for the Commonwealth Caribbean (CARIBCAN), these preferences have all been autonomously granted by the countries concerned and could, in theory at least, be withdrawn or modified without agreement of the beneficiary countries. They also operate outside of the normal rules of the multilateral system and are therefore subject to periodic waivers by the WTO membership. Indeed, in the case of the Lomé/Cotonou trading arrangements, it became clear that the WTO membership was not willing to grant the EU any further extensions of the waiver that covered the period 2001-2007 and thus, in order to protect its preferences, the Caribbean ACP group had little alternative but to conclude a reciprocal Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) within that timeframe.

  FTAs may also provide additional market access, especially in cases where the existing access arrangements are on a so-called Most Favoured Nation (MFN) basis, which in reality means the least attractive market access regime granted by any WTO member. Even In the case of the EPA, where most of the region’s products already enjoyed duty-free status, the restrictions that did exist were all in respect of agricultural products —all the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) products were either excluded from the Lomé/Cotonou arrangements or were subject to some level of tariffs, some of which were prohibitive.

  CARICOM’s Positions

  In all its international trade negotiations, whether at the multilateral or bilateral level, CARICOM’s position on agriculture has been very defensive. In the current WTO negotiations, the region has, as part of the Small and Vulnerable Economies group (SVEs) successfully carved out for itself special dispensations that will allow it to continue providing significant protection to its agricultural sector. The same was true of the failed FTAA[3] negotiations in which CARICOM staked out a very defensive position. Even in its agreements with neighbouring countries – Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic—CARICOM excluded most agricultural products and also listed a range of products that could be traded only within certain seasons. This is in addition to the fact that CARICOM’s LDCs[4] were not required to provide reciprocal market access in the area of goods. In the EPA, some 70% of all agricultural tariff lines were excluded from CARIFORUM’s[5] market access commitments. It is expected that a similar stance will be taken by CARICOM in the upcoming FTA negotiations with Canada. Thus, there is no evidence that the interests of the CARICOM agricultural sector have been negatively affected by commitments entered into under multilateral and bilateral trade agreements.

  Defining the Interests of the Sector in Trade Negotiations

  Although the main preoccupation of agricultural sector actors is with defending their level of tariff protection, trade negotiations are not confined to goods and embrace the important area of services as well as other trade-related areas. Further, the treatment of non-agricultural goods in such negotiations can have significant impact on the sector’s operations. It is therefore important that agricultural sector personnel in both the private and public sectors pay attention and become fully engaged in the entire negotiating spectrum. The agricultural sector could, for example, be negatively affected if the market for non-agricultural goods (inputs in particular) or services (e.g. shipping) remains restricted. In some cases, the importance of a particular product or service to agriculture may not be evident to sector personnel.

  As some researchers have noted, there is now substantial evidence that policies that reduce competition in service industries are very costly to developing countries. Producer services, in particular, play a crucial role in the development and growth process. It is well known that losses of agricultural output due to lack of financial intermediation, poor transportation and storage facilities and substandard communication networks can be significant.[6] The agricultural sector could, for example, be negatively affected if the market for non-agricultural goods (e.g. inputs such as equipment and packaging material) or services (e.g. shipping) remains restricted or significantly taxed. In some cases, there may be no clear distinction between inputs and final goods, especially where smaller operations are concerned, and the impact that trade taxation may be having on the sector may not be evident to policy makers.Trade agreements, therefore, provide producers with the opportunity to press for reforms to the trading system, which could redound to the sector’s benefit. But unless the advocates for the sector clearly articulate their interests in these areas, and do so in the language of the negotiations, the result could be one in which important interests are overlooked.

  The Role of Information

  Duty-free or preferential access to a market does not necessarily translate into market presence or an improved level of market penetration. The record of CARICOM’s exports to its preferential markets has been a mixed one but there is clear evidence that other countries not having such privileged access have, in some cases, been able to perform as well or better. Market access can be complicated by a host of non-tariff issues such as technical and health measures, border charges other than customs duties, administrative procedures and even technical standards imposed by the private sectors in the importing countries. It is well known, for example, that while the EU might, as part of its Food and Feed regulations require that exporters are able to provide records of their production processes for two or three sages back, private importers may require information on several stages more.

  Facilitating market entry by providing useful, comprehensive and timely information on market entry conditions is thus an area that cries out for attention. This is certainly an area in which additional public support should be provided through regional and sub-regional organizations with the full participation of the private sector. This is an issue that applies equally to the CARICOM market itself, a fact that has been recognized at the highest levels.

  The Latin American and Caribbean Region

  CARICOM’s historical dependence on a few major markets for both exports and imports is a fact that needs to be addressed since it results in a limited vision of market opportunities both on the part of governments and the private sector. Perceived barriers of language and tradition are sometimes used as rationalizations for the region’s failure to reach out to non-traditional markets. CARICOM has negotiated trade agreements with only a few countries in the hemisphere. The CARICOM Council for Trade & Development (COTED) regularly decides on the priorities and schedules for trade negotiations. If, however, it is wish of the private sector to have additional trade agreements negotiated, then this should be communicated through the appropriate channels, identifying the assessed opportunities.

  Organization of the Private Sector

  The important role of business organizations has been well recognized. These bodies can provide a host of benefits for their members, and for the sector as a whole. In relation to trade and marketing, these include, providing information on market conditions (see above), lobbying governments in both the home countries and abroad for beneficial policy changes, facilitating the provision of technical assistance to enterprises. In addition, as mentioned above, private sector organizations can play a crucial role in coordinating positions for trade negotiations. So far, the private sector has played only a limited role in trade negotiations, a situation that needs to be corrected. The important role of such organizations as the Caribbean AgriBusiness Association (CABA) and WINFA has been recognized by COTED and this provides such bodies with the opportunity to become more deeply involved in shaping the trade policy agenda.

  Above based on a presentation by Nigel Durrant at the Private Sector Dialogue held on conjunction with the 5th Hemispheric Ministerial & 15th Regular Inter-American Board of Agriculture Meetings, Montego Bay, Jamaica, October 27, 2009

 

 

 

 

[1] The Partnership Agreement ACP-EC, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 (Revised in Luxemburg on 25 June 2005) is the latest of these agreements and runs for 20 years. The trade provisions, however, ended on December 31, 2007 and were replaced, in the case of the Caribbean ACP countries, by the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

  [2] Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), a term covering two pieces of US legislation, namely, the “Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act” (CBERA) of 1983 and the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) of 2000.

  [3] Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)

  [4] The countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Belize and Haiti

  [5] The Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean & Pacific (ACP) States, consisting of CARICOM countries (including the Bahamas) and the Dominican Republic.

  [6] Hoekman, Bernard and Anderson, Kym “Developing Country Agriculture and the New Trade Agenda”

  World Bank, Washington, D.C. and CEPR bhoekman@worldbank.org and CEPR, and School of Economics and Centre for International Economic Studies University of Adelaide 5005 Australia kanderson@economics.adelaide.edu.au - Presented at the American Economic Association Annual Meeting, New York, 3-5 January 1999.

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Linkages between Tourism and Agriculture

October 03, 2015

Linkages between the Agri-Food Sector and Tourism offer significant opportunities for the development of both sectors within the region. These linkages could lead to ensuring the sustainability of the region’s tourism product thus ensuring it preservation.

Establishment of linkages between the two sectors would enable the utilisation of the ability of the tourism industry to diversify the Caribbean Economy, stimulate entrepreneurship, catalyse investment and assist in wider social development of local communities, this is according to a 2010 study “Background Study, Regional Agrotourism Policy” done by Ena C. Harvey, IICA Agrotourism Specialist.

The Report defines agrotourism as embracing the full range of products and services, development options and commercial linkages possible across the Agri-Food-Tourism value chain, including those tourism products developed for rural/agricultural environments.

Internationally, agrotourism is being driven by changes in global trends such as food and dining, climate change, energy conservation, environmental protection, nutrition, health and wellness and conservation of heritage. Within the Caribbean, which sees an annual influx of approximately 40 million visitors, market research has indicated preferences by tourist for an experience and product that is authentic and linked to local foods, culture and heritage and are willing to pay a premium price for the experience.

Available information has shown that the linkages between the sectors are as low as 10-30% for some destinations and as high as 70-90% for some products for specific niche markets. This has led to many countries identifying specific products which have a comparative advantage for the tourism sector. At the regional level, products have been identified and several studies have been done to promote their production. Among them are papaya, hot pepper, sweet potato and small ruminants (sheep and goats).

Agro and rural based tourism sites and attractions have shown exciting and initiatives in areas such as culinary events, nature- and agriculture-based accommodation, tours and attractions. Some examples of these are the Taste Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica’s Calendar of Foods Festivals, Plantation Tours and natural health and beauty products utilising cerasee (bitter melon), ginger, crabwood (carapa) oil, organic coffee and cocoa, cassava cassareep, noni and aloe.

There is no single comprehensive regional study on the linkages between farmers and the tourism industry and its potential for trade in fresh produce, processed foods and horticulture crops, and the linkages vary from country to country.

In 2005-2006, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) conducted a study of nine CARIFORUM countries while the World Bank in 2008 conducted a study of six OECS countries. National studies were also conducted in the Bahamas, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago within the past five years.

The CHTA study titled “The Caribbean Accommodation Sector as a Consumer of Locally Produced Goods and Contributor to Government Revenue” stated that less than one fifth of the fresh fruit, fish and egg requirement was fulfilled locally despite there being a 49% linkage between the hotel and fresh produce sectors. Further, results from the 2008 World Bank study titled “OECS Increasing Linkages of Tourism with Agriculture, Manufacturing and Service Sectors” showed that food imports for the tourism sector were estimated at a value of US$ 366 million in 2007 and represented 20 – 25% of total agriculture imports. The study surveyed 70 hotels, marinas and tourism operators in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines identified meat, dairy products and alcoholic beverages as representing the major imports.

Due to these studies, several countries have taken steps to produce crops locally to satisfy the demands of the hotel industry. In Jamaica for instance where the supply of produce to the hotel industry is controlled by an ad hoc arrangement of middlemen who are able to supply the industry with both local and imported products, the Ministry of Agriculture has identified onion, potato, cassava, sweet potato, dasheen, yams, carrots, pepper (hot and sweet), ginger, tomato and escallion for development. The emergence of farmers groups and farmers cooperatives through the work of the Ministry of Agriculture has also opened up possibilities of direct linkages between farmers and hotels.

Hotels and restaurants in the Bahamas are heavily reliant on imports due to the perceived lack of agriculture to serve the sectors. The Ministry of Agriculture in response to this conducted a market survey in 2008 to identify commodities with the greatest potential for penetration into the tourism sector. Following the survey in which buyers were interviewed, fifteen crops were identified as having the best penetration potential for the Bahamas tourism Sector. These are:     

Onion Cabbage Celery Irish Potato Sweet Pepper
Lemon Lettuce Hot Pepper Orange Tomato
Pigeon Peas Plantain Carrots Thyme Grapefruit

Buyers in the Bahamas also indicated that local produce such as tomato, cabbage, sweet pepper, onion, cucumber, pumpkin, lemon and lime are of a high standard and indicated a preference for them due to superior flavour and taste.

In Trinidad and Tobago, although there is much better active trade in the supply of locally produced foods to the tourism sector, it has been recognised that there is room for improvement in terms of consistency, quality of supply, pricing, scheduling, marketing and communication among the sectors. Recognising this, NAMDEVCO in 2004 initiated contract farming relationships intended to encourage a closer relationship between agriculture and tourism through marketing strategies and initiating communications. They also conducted a survey of hotels and restaurants.

The Trinidad and Tobago survey collected data on the consumption trends and values for the numerous crops and commodities including;

  • Consumption patterns of selected products and commodities
  • The pattern and make forecasts of trends in purchasing
  • If business would purchase crops from farms certified by NAMDEVCO as having Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)     
Dasheen Cauliflower Sweet Pepper Cassava
Tomatoes Ginger Cucumber Banana
Sweet Potatoes Lettuce Cabbages Pumpkin

There are also linkages between farmers and restaurants that are not associated with hotels, and linkages between the region’s top agro processing companies and the tourism and food service sectors. Processed foods which are traded include:       

Pepper Sauces and Jellies Jerk Sauces and Marinades Bottled Seasoning and Casareep
Coconut Oil Jams and Jellies Coffee and Herbal Teas
Bottled Seasoning Cassava Bread and Cassava Pancake / Waffle Mix  
Bottled Coconut Water Canned Ackee, Calaloo, Breadfruit, Peas and Beans  

Despite the existing linkages among the sectors and the potential of the agrotourism sector as an earner of foreign exchange, several constraints have been identified. These include the absence of information, technical assistance and funding for investment, poor rural infrastructure, uncoordinated systems for certification of products and service providers that are relevant to the Caribbean reality and consistent with basic international requirements and standards; and an apparent weakness among community-based organizations and producer associations to work in organized professional groups to develop and manage projects, access markets or take advantage of available assistance and financial resources.

Nevertheless, there are several success stories of farmer – hotel projects and ongoing business ventures which are based on the provision and trade of fresh produce to the tourism and hospitality sector which could be built on and replicated throughout the region. Some of these success stories are;

  • Bahamas – Goodfellows Farm
  • Jamaica – Sandals Montego Bay and Mafoota Farmers; SuperClubs, Breezes
  • Nevis - Nevis Growers Assn. & Four Seasons Resort (FSR)
  • OECS – OXFAM Market Access Initiative
  • St. Lucia - Santoy, Black Bay and Mafoota Farmers (Sandals Chain - Jamaica & St. Lucia); Barbonneau Farmers St. Lucia and Almond Chain (Barbados & St. Lucia)
  • Trinidad & Tobago - Mt. St. George Farmers, UK Travel Foundation & Hilton Tobago, Tobago Honeybee Project, School Gardens Project, School Aquaculture Project
  • Suriname – Commewijne lettuce project

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Research, Development & Technology

October 03, 2015

LuminAID sheds lights on farming

Farmers now have an extra tool to help with farming efforts following power outages or natural disasters where they would otherwise be left in the dark for extended periods of time. LuminAID is an inflatable solar-powered light source, capable of providing up to 30 hours of light when fully charged. The device is rugged and able to withstand the harshest conditions in regions void of electricity. Farm Up Jamaica Ltd. has become the exclusive distributor in Jamaica of LuminAID lights. All net proceeds will be used to assist farmers in the cultivation of organic food. For more details visit: http://farmupjamaica.org/product/luminaid/

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About Us

October 01, 2015

The Caribbean Agribusiness web site aims at providing a portal dedicated to Caribbean food and agribusiness, which integrates existing initiatives and relevant institutions and also serves as the hub for all matters in which business persons (at all scales of operation) have an interest, including, up to date information, statistics, trade and investment opportunities, policy issues, news/current events, and business tools. It is intended to fill a gap in the agribusiness environment, which is the absence of a central “clearinghouse” or hub for information gathering and exchange.

The institutions with which we intend to work most closely include ministries of agriculture (MOAs), marketing boards, producer organizations, such as the Caribbean Farmers’ Network (CaFAN), the Caribbean Agribusiness Association (CABA) and CAIC, regional agribusiness associations for sugar, rice, citrus, banana, rum, poultry, pork, brewery products, bakery products, etc.), the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) and other hospitality organizations, R&D institutions such as the Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development institute (CARDI), the University of the West Indies (UWI) and other regional universities, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export),  the inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), and several more.

While the site will be managed by the CARICOM Secretariat, there is no intention to replace or supersede any information service but simply to act as an aggregator of existing information while providing any original content that is available. If, for example, an issue is being dealt with adequately through another institution’s website then all that may be necessary is a link or links to that site together with some brief background information. On the other hand, where it is necessary to aggregate information on a regional or sub-regional basis, e.g. statistics on production and trade, this portal will probably be the best place to have this done.

A competitive agribusiness sector is expected to make a positive impact and contribute to export-led growth, food import substitution, enhanced food security, employment creation, and poverty reduction. It is therefore hoped that this initiative will assist in meeting those objectives.

Maintenance of the site is the responsibility of the Agriculture and Industry programme of the CARICOM Secretariat. Offers of technical assistance in the operation and further upgrading of the site are welcome.

For further information, contact info@agricarib.org

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat​

Turkeyen

Georgetown

Guyana

South America

Tel: +1(592)222-0001 to 0075

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Markets

August 09, 2015

An Assessment of the Agri-Food Distribution Services Industry in CARICOM by Robert Best and Lawrence Placide, November 2006

  The agri-food distribution services sector is particularly important to CARICOM. The Food Distribution Service industry in CARICOM has over 17,000 firms, employing 112,000 people and generating sales of US$ 5.6 billion per annum. It plays an important role in delivery of food, consumer choice and prices, and is one of the largest components of the services sector. The study is one of the first to characterize the industry for the purpose of establishing industry benchmarks and identifying trends and competitiveness improvement strategies. It was commissioned by the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery, now the Office of Trade Negotiations of the CARICOM Secretariat with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

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Nutrition

August 09, 2015

The Caribbean Food & Nutrition Institute (CFNI) is a specialized centre of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), which was established in 1967 to forge a regional approach to solving the nutrition problems of the Caribbean. It serves a total population of about six (6) million, a third of who live in Jamaica.

  The institute aims to attain food security and achieve optimal nutritional health for all peoples of the Caribbean through collaboration with Caribbean countries to enhance, describe, manage and prevent the key nutritional problems and to increase their capacity in providing effective nutritional services.

  The mission of CFNI is to co-operate technically with member countries to strengthen their ability to analyze, manage and prevent the key nutritional problems and to enhance the quality of life of the people through the promotion of good nutrition and healthy lifestyle behaviors.

 

  Below we have provided the link to the main CFNI website as well as to their two main publications. In addition, links to other nutrition and/or health-related sites have been provided.

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Food preparation

August 09, 2015

Caribbean people are diverse and yet similar in their culture and ethnicity, this is reflected in their food preparation as well as the ingredients they prefer to use to prepare their national/favourite foods. These foods are rich and varied as they are a result of the influence of the African, Amerindian, French, East Indian, and European styles of cooking handed down by our ancestors. Rice is a must have in any Caribbean meal and most Caribbean people would confess that “without rice I don’t feel like I have eaten”, however the way rice is prepared differs from country to country and includes ‘Cook-up rice’, or ‘Pelau’. This dish combines meats like chicken, beef, pig tail, salt-fish, and vegetables with rice and pigeon peas and/or other peas, beans and lentils. In addition seafood is one of the most common Caribbean recipe delicacies due to the geographic location of CARICOM countries with each country having their own seafood specialty. Each island/territory has its unique way of preparing food which is influenced by its landscape and the crops produced. Economic conditions also influence the way food is prepared which only adds to an interesting and diverse collection of exotic foods.

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Food Preparation

July 09, 2015

Caribbean people are diverse and yet similar in their culture and ethnicity, this is reflected in their food preparation as well as the ingredients they prefer to use to prepare their national/favourite foods. These foods are rich and varied as they are a result of the influence of the African, Amerindian, French, East Indian, and European styles of cooking handed down by our ancestors. Rice is a must have in any Caribbean meal and most Caribbean people would confess that “without rice I don’t feel like I have eaten”, however the way rice is prepared differs from country to country and includes ‘Cook-up rice’, or ‘Pelau’. This dish combines meats like chicken, beef, pig tail, salt-fish, and vegetables with rice and pigeon peas and/or other peas, beans and lentils. In addition seafood is one of the most common Caribbean recipe delicacies due to the geographic location of CARICOM countries with each country having their own seafood specialty. Each island/territory has its unique way of preparing food which is influenced by its landscape and the crops produced. Economic conditions also influence the way food is prepared which only adds to an interesting and diverse collection of exotic foods. Text taken in part from the Islandflave.com

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