CARCIOM Secretariat launches projects on Market Infrastructure, Market Information in Agriculture
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat recently launched two initiatives to support the development of the Region’s agriculture sector relative to the assessment of the market infrastructure needs and improving the information system for Caribbean agribusiness.
These initiatives are elements of a series of activities under the Caribbean component of the Agricultural Policy Programme (APP), which is funded by the European Union (EU) and which benefits both the Caribbean and the Pacific regions.
The CARICOM Secretariat is administering Component 1 of the APP which focuses on ‘Strengthening Regional Agricultural Development Strategy’ while the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) are administering the other two components which focus on ‘Improving dissemination and adoption of applied research and appropriate technologies’ and ‘Enterprise development under improved market linkages’, respectively.
The project on market infrastructure will focus on public marketing facilities and will assess the current state of those facilities. The project will make an estimate of the value of these systems to the agricultural sector, and provide recommendations to CARICOM governments on policies and programmes to be adopted so as to improve the productivity and incomes of farmers while contributing to the welfare of consumers.
The consultant undertaking the study is Dr. Lennox Sealy of Trinidad and Tobago. In developing recommendations for the Region, he will focus on Barbados, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as his home base of Trinidad and Tobago.
The project on the enhancement of the Caribbean Agribusiness website responds to a long-standing need to create a platform for the exchange of information on a wide variety of issues affecting Caribbean agriculture. The project will therefore build on a facility that was established a few years ago – agricarib.org – by expanding its scope and making it more appropriate to today’s digital environment. The result is expected to be a portal that provides, among other things, statistics, business and marketing tools, a platform for Caribbean agribusinesses to promote their products, consumer information, and which helps to network all the agri-food entities throughout the Region. The consultant for this project is Mr. Mark Ernest, ICT specialist, of Saint Lucia.
Both projects will pay special attention to the needs of small farmers, small entrepreneurs and women in agriculture. They are expected to be completed by September of this year and their results presented to the special meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Agriculture scheduled for October.