Agribusinesses: An Opportunity to Enhance Agricultural Development in the Caribbean

Meeting with Michael Hailu CTA Tuesday

Meeting with Michael Hailu CTA Tuesday

The Director General of IICA spoke during the opening session of an Agribusiness Workshop held within the framework of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) 2016.

Cayman Islands, October 26, 2016 (IICA). “The Caribbean region possesses one of the largest tourism sectors -40 million visitors per year- giving rise to a captive export market; this fact, coupled with the increased demand for ethnic foods in major markets of the United Kingdom and the United States, increases the opportunities for the region’s agribusiness sector in the export market.”

Those were the words of Víctor M. Villalobos, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), during the opening ceremony of an Agribusiness Workshop held within the framework of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) 2016, that is taking place in the Cayman Islands from October 24 until October 28.

The theme chosen for the CWA 2016 is “Investing in Food and Agriculture”, with the vision of using this event to consolidate institutional synergies and capacities within the countries, between the Region and other regions of the world, as well as national and international, technical and financial support organizations committed to the Caribbean Region.

The workshop, which was held yesterday afternoon, was organized by IICA, the Caribbean Agribusiness Association (CABA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

During the session, the participants were able to identify tangible opportunities in new markets, promote linkages between the agrifood sector and the tourism industry to increase sustainable local sourcing and identify support services to strengthen relationships between chain actors and the tourism industry. There was also a presentation of successful business cases.

“Agriculture plays a vital role in the Caribbean Region, not only in growing countries’ economies, but also in energizing other activities and linkages in areas such as production, tourism, culture, gastronomy, and food and nutritional security”, said Villalobos.

The session compiled work that was undertaken at the two Caribbean Agribusiness Forums held in 2014 and 2015. The first, on Enhancing regional trade and adding value to Caribbean agrifood products, took place in Grenada in November 2014 and addressed the potential offered by tourism-related markets. The second, held in Barbados in November 2015, was entitled Strengthening the agri-food sector and expanding markets.

The highlights and recommendations of yesterday´s session will feed into the 3rd Caribbean Agribusiness Forum, tentatively scheduled for January 2017.

At the end of the workshop, some of the region’s chefs showcased their skills, as advocates for food and nutrition security, under an initiative spearheaded by IICA and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) “Chefs for Development”.

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