Caribbean agriculture revisited
There has not been a substantive analysis of the state of agriculture in the Caribbean since 1981, an oversight that the Study on the State of Agriculture in the Caribbean sought to address. The comprehensive report covers 19 countries and focuses on the region’s low returns in agriculture, unpredictable climate, high imports and declining exports. These uncertainties have also dissuaded the youth from working in the sector, resulting in stagnation and an absence of innovative ideas on how the industry should move forward.
The lack of competitiveness and productivity in the region is highlighted by the report and there is a strong emphasis on the need for agriculture to diversify and embrace new solutions in order to reflect the changing economic and social environment. The report also underlines that there is very much an opportunity for growth in the Caribbean agriculture sector, suggesting improved regulation in agribusiness as one way to spur growth, as well as increasing competition within the agri-food value chain.
A more attractive setting for investors will increase agricultural development, which in turn will help to reduce poverty, the report states. The authors also emphasise the need for development within the aquaculture and fisheries sectors of the Caribbean Sea, where overfishing and natural resource degradation has led to a catch decline of 25% since the 1990s, despite fishing efforts having “almost doubled” since then.
summary, Caribbean agriculture needs to be more inclusive, sustainable and
competitive; this report offers the recommendations to make such a vision
Study on the State of
Agriculture in the Caribbean
By FAO and the Caribbean Development Bank
FAO and CDB, 2019; 212pp.
In this issue
Assistant vice-president of the strategy and knowledge department of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Paul Winters, highlights the factors that need to be in place for rural youth to prosper.
Pioneering technology in the Caribbean is aiming to help financial institutions make better farming investment decisions in order to provide unbanked farmers with credit.
To enable smallholder farmers to improve production, reduce crop loss and ultimately increase productivity, it’s crucial to transform agricultural extension services through impactful decision-support tools and digital know-how.
Nigerian tomato farmers are overcoming production challenges to increase the quality and quantity of their yields, and access a ready market for their produce.
by Bob Koigi
New initiatives are emerging to empower women traders and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the increased border trade and reduced tariffs as a result of the operationalised Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Greater access to improved groundnut seed in Zambia and training in crop management is increasing smallholder productivity and market access in the face of diminishing cotton prices.
Professor Frederike Praasterink is a lecturer in sustainability and future food systems in the Netherlands. She strongly believes that leadership at the local level is needed in the strategy for transforming food systems.
Remote monitoring of greenhouses is allowing Kenyan smallholders to irrigate their crops from afar and improve their quality of life.
A study on the condition of agriculture in the Caribbean suggests new ways forward.