Director of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), Michael Hailu, believes that Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) can be duplicated in other regions of the developing world.
CWA brings key stakeholders in the agricultural sector and policymakers together to discuss problems and find solutions and the format is said to be a potential model for regions such as the Pacific.
“I think this is the only region where there is a specific week every year dealing with agriculture,” Hailu said. “So we want to encourage other regions to do the same.”
He further added that Ministers of Agriculture from Samoa and Tonga participated in this year’s CWA activities, which were held in Georgetown, Guyana, from Oct. 4 to 12 under the theme “Linking the Caribbean for Regional Food and Nutrition Security and Rural Development”.
“We wanted them to come here and see what is happening so that they can probably do the same back in their region, in the Pacific,” Hailu said.
Samoa’s Associate Minister of Agriculture, Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell has praised the organisers of the CWA calling the event, “a great opportunity for everyone to come together to discuss regional policy in the interest of the people in the Caribbean”.
Tonga’s Minister of Agriculture, Sione Sangster Saulala, said he intends on collaborating with Samoa and Fiji and other islands in the Pacific to have an event as the CWA and will call on CTA to assist with process.
In previous CWAs, the CTA has supported the participation of agricultural technocrats and farmers from Africa to be part of the event.
Hailu said that over the years, the event gives stakeholders the opportunity to have dialogue on the challenges affecting the agricultural sector, thus enabling it to become more relevant and competitive.
CWA has been recognised as a facility to place agriculture and rural life in a prominent position, so key public and private sector decision makers can better acknowledge the strategic importance of the sector to economic, social and environmental stability.
Activities generally include policy development meetings, workshops, trade expo, media activities, farmers’ meeting, and a host of other agricultural discussions, which fosters collaboration among the stakeholders.
CWA has contributed positively to the advancement of the agricultural sector in the Caribbean and CTA says it remains committed to support this event. The CTA has supported various activities including workshops on key issues for the Caribbean: food and nutrition security, fisheries governance, climate change and plant protection, coconut industry, ICTs in value chains, youth in value chains, women in business, and media and agriculture.
The dialogues during CWA present stakeholders with an opportunity to develop policy recommendations and report to the Alliance for Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu (The Alliance) and the Ministers for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Agriculture for the design and implementation of policies, strategies and plans that will advance food and nutritional security and sustainable agriculture development in the Caribbean.
CWA is held every year under the auspices of the Alliance, with the major collaborators being the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, the CARICOM Secretariat, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA).