St Vincent agriculture ministry calls on CARICOM to consolidate commodity supply
St Vincent and the Grenadines minister of agriculture, Saboto Ceasar, has called on policymakers in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states to identify a commodity or commodities for consolidated supply to regional and international markets.
“It is long acknowledged that many of the drawbacks resulting from our individual geographical smallness can only be addressed through collective and coordinated marketing of our produce,” he said.
According to Caesar, the banana model, which consolidated the marketing of bananas to the United Kingdom for over half a century, brought significant economic benefit to the Windward Islands.
“There comes a time when we just have to face reality as small island states. One of these realities is that there is an urgent need for the OECS sub-region and CARICOM to a wider extent, to set up the necessary framework for collective marketing of our agriculture produce,” the Vincentian agriculture minister pointed out to his regional counterparts.
He added that “the commodity or commodities to be marketed must be determined after the requisite technical assessment is done.”
Additionally, the minister suggested that regional chief agriculture officers, marketers, and agriculture organizations such as FAO, CARDI, and IICA all have important roles to play in the formulation of the plan.
Caesar concluded that the region’s agriculture policymakers “should not be timid in our quest to advance our agriculture sector collectively, since it is the spirit and intent of regionalism.”