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ISSN 1991-2315

AgriView is published every trimester by the Inter-

American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
(IICA) with financing from the Technical Centre for
Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)

Information today for Agriculture tomorrow Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009

The business of
agriculture has
never looked
No Kidding!
They say ...our children
are our future, feed
them well and watch
them grow! With
concerns over child
obesity and the future of
agriculture, getting our
children interested in
‘eating what they grow’,
literally, may be the
most sustainable model
to link good business,
good agriculture and
good health. The goat
industry is shaing up
to be one of these
sustainable models for
agriculture and rural
Go-at cheese?
In this Issue...
AV zeroes in on two main topics. One promotes the process and shakers’, ‘affected and interested’ stakeholders that will share a
agenda of the Fifth Ministerial on Agriculture and Rural Life of the common platform for dialogue and decision making in Jamaica.
Americas, taking place in Jamaica in October; the other promotes Integral to the positioning of agriculture and rural
a sound methodological and strategic approach to agricultural life issues on the agenda of the Summit of the Americas and
development using the Value Chain Analysis or Methodology. management of the process thereafter, through the Ministerial
Both areas are inter-related and complement each other. AV Process, is the promotion of agriculture as strategic to the lives
combines these two topics in this issue to underscore that and livelihoods of millions of rural peoples and economies of the
hemispheric and regional policy dialogue, at the highest level, Americas. A key strategy that will enable agriculture to contribute
is inextricable linked to national actions to develop and integrate to rural and economic development is business development.
sustainable livelihoods and business in agriculture. Recently, countries of the Americas have been taking a
AV includes a special 4-page supplement on the Fifth very serious look at the Value Chain Approach for business
Ministerial for your information and guidance. The Fifth Ministerial development. This means building integrated value chains
Meeting will focus on the challenges faced by countries of the forged through partnerships, alliances, dialogue and cooperation
hemisphere in agriculture and rural life, food security and and commitment of actors from farm-to-table. The success of
sustainable development, as well as the strategic response CARICOM in enhancing food security and rural life, harmonising
required to address those challenges, including capacity building agriculture policy within the CSME Single
at the local and hemispheric level. These will be reflected in the Development Vision and growing competitive business,
adoption of Jamaica 2009 Hemispheric Ministerial Agreement (s) one enterprise at a time, will all depend on how far and how fast
updating the AGRO 2003-2015 Plan. The supplement begins with the region can build successful agriculture on the principles of
an identification of the main topics for discussion, for each, noting the value chain approach. In this regard, AV highlights models
key aspects that stakeholders, particularly those unfamiliar with and experiences for developing business in agriculture and
the process, should seek to clarify. AV also provides a Caribbean perspectives on the role of regional policy in adding value to
Ministers ‘Who’s Who’, among the 34 Ministerial ‘movers and national agricultural development efforts.

May - August 2009, Vol. 14, No.2, ISSN-1991-2315; CaRC/TT-03/09

The Gift of Goat 2 COVER PHOTO

Moving Agriculture from ‘Sector’ to ‘Value Chains’ 4 Young boy savouring goat
Alleviating Constraints to Building Competitive Value Chains 6 cheese and Crix crackers
Placing the ‘Value Chain’ in context 6
Ministerial Matters - Agenda Jamaica 2009 10
Agriculture being positioned to tackle the ‘silent tsunami’ in the Americas 11
Caribbean Ministers of Agricuture - Who’s Who 12
Snapshot of actions taken by Caribbean Countries to enhance food security 13
Growing Agri-business - one enterprise at a time! 14
TTABA .. creating links and adding value to local produce 14
The Value of Shared Experiences 14
Investing in Nutrition - Building Capacity for CARICOM’s Food Needs 14
Is there a place for Regional Policy in building Competitive Agriculture? 14
Publications to look out for... 14
Investing by Nutrition 14

2 AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009

Got Goat?
One could say that ‘goat’ is making a comeback. But that would be incorrect since it
had never left. Almost all CARICOM countries have a history of goat rearing and “small
ruminants are considered to be an established and important feature of Caribbean
agriculture. They not only play a significant role in the economy of the small farmers,
but also in agricultural diversification initiatives geared to reducing the dependence on
a narrow range of export crops”.
Despite this importance, however, local production satisfies only a small per-
centage of demand with shortfalls satisfied mainly with imports from New Zealand
and Australia.1 In 2009, there is still a growing and unmet demand for the fresh local
product, perceived as being a healthier with better quality and flavour characteristics.
This demand exists at the level of both consumers who buy from community butchers
buyers in upscale supermarkets and hospitality establishments. The traditional goat
products have been meat, milk and leather goods. However, in these times, goat rear-
ing for an expanded range of by-products is not-so-quietly carving out a space for itself
in the expanding business of agriculture, at least among an enterprising group of goat
farmers in Trinidad. Goat cheese, yoghurt, soap and body lotion are being positioned
to fill markets in the Caribbean and beyond.
August 5th marked an historic occasion for the goat industry in Trini-
dad. It was the first time that commercially produced pasteurised goat milk
was promoted and offered for sale. It sold faster than hot bread!
According to John Borely, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Goat and Sheep Soci-
ety (TTGSS), dairy goat farming has a rich history in Trinidad and Tobago. The original
Trinidad and Tobago Goat Society, formed since 1922, is one of the country’s oldest
agricultural organisations. After a lapse in activity, the society was revived, initially in
1987 and again in 1991. It has persevered since then, evolving into the (TGSS). In
Trinidad, the goat and sheep industry is divided into meat producers, primarily sheep
farmers, despite the greater popularity of goat meat and a small number of dairy goat
farmers. The meat from goat and sheep is traditionally marketed in unsophisticated
roadside stalls or as live animals for the religious festival markets. Dairy goat farmers
are mainly dedicated backyard, urban hobbyists that sell raw milk from their farm gates
occasionally. However, goat cheese and imported goat milk is now a common sight on
grocery shelves. Globally and locally, consumers seem to be growing in awareness of
the great reputation that goat milk has as a culinary and health product.
The TTGSS President noted that a major challenge is how to meet the demand for high quality products from traditional,
low-output farming systems. To this end, the dairy goat farmers have prioritised their needs to the TTGSS accordingly- assistance with
marketing and their need for better quality stock. In response, the TTGSS mounted a series of activities aimed at meeting farmers’
needs. A rearing and sharing programme was initiated by the TTGSS and facilitated through the Agricultural Society of Trinidad and
Tobago (ASSTT). This was implemented as part of the industry’s development objective of improving the supply of high quality milk and
meat. Under programme, good quality stock were imported and ‘shared’ among farmers on the condition that they would give an equal
number of the pure bred offspring back to the programme, a sort of ‘revolving goat stock’ to benefit other farmers. Other key elements
of the industry’s development programme increasing the demand and developing the market for milk and meat and activities to sustain
the sector, such as, strengthening capacity in farm management, grass/fodder production, an information hub and an annual show and
conference. The TTGSS is positioning itself as an industry association facilitating growth and development through the involvement of
all the stakeholders in the industry - producers, processors, technical support, educators, input suppliers etc.

1 Upscaling the marketing of small ruminant products in the Caribbean - The challenges. Asiedu F H, Gibson N, John M and Ansari H. 2007 Caribbean
Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), A paper presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Food Crops Society, San Jose,
Costa Rica, 16-21 September 2007 3)

AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009 3

Moving Agriculture from Sector to Value Chains
“80% of the global trade in goods currently takes place along and cotton. Fish and fish
value chains in which each link represents a different task. At products are not covered. As
present, many producers in developing countries are either these definitions indicate agriculture is not
completely excluded from value chains or obliged to compete synonymous with farming or primary production. Such narrow
with products that offer only few opportunities for local added definitions do not reflect the emerging reality for agriculture.
value – typically agricultural products.” 2 Recognising the extent of agriculture, and to avoid
The importance of the ‘value chain’ approach cannot be terminology confusion, IICA has been using terms such as, agri-
ignored. This has implications for regional policies and programmes food system and more recently, ‘value chains’, the latter not
that seek to facilitate the achieving of sustainable agriculture specifying whether it is food, fibre, feed, fuel or other product or
development in member states. It should also inform the process service. ‘Value chains’ is increasingly being used to promote and
towards regional coordination and collaboration on a number of foster with greater level of integration and cooperation from farm
institutional and trade issues. Article 56 of the Revised Treaty to table. In fact, the establishment of the Caribbean AgriBusiness
of Chaguaramas defines agricultural development goals as the Association (CABA), The Alliance for Sustainable Development
transformation into an internationally competitive, environmentally of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu and its various components,
sound and sustainable sector that contributes to improved income including CABA, rural women associations and agro-tourism, have
and employment opportunities, food and nutrition security and been part of IICA’s thrust to promote greater chain integration. The
poverty alleviation. While it is clear that there will be competing value chain conceptually and operationally eliminates the long
interests, conflicts and trade-offs in terms of efficiently meeting standing gap between the farm and other aspects of the agriculture
each of these objectives, one thing remains clear – these objectives and food industry. Agriculture should thus be viewed and analysed
are mutually-reinforcing and integral parts of the sustainable as a diverse group of entrepreneurs, of all sizes, that may or may
development philosophy that will require careful and effective not enter into alliances and partnerships through supply or value
response at all levels, particularly regarding coordinated policy for chains.
agriculture at the national and regional levels. The recent global food crisis driven, in part, by the
However, the term ‘agriculture’ is still subjected to varying spiralling cost of fuel and shortages in grains, meats and basic food
definitions and interpretations in the Caribbean. From as early as items, provides the most urgent basis for a coordinated response.
the 1950s, agricultural activity was extended beyond the farm, This situation has generated an overwhelming consensus among
as defined by Davis and Goldberg (1957), as ‘the sum total of all public policy makers, civil society and the private sector, that
operations involved in the manufacture and distribution of farm CARICOM countries need to sustain a greater level of food-
supplies; production operations on the farm; and the storage, security based on efficiency-based import displacement. Prior to
processing and distribution of farm commodities and the items made this global food crisis, public policy discourse among CARICOM
from them’. The US 2000 Famine Prevention and Freedom from States had already admitted to a crisis of confidence regarding the
Hunger Improvement Act defined agriculture as ‘the science and positioning of the region’s agriculture in an increasingly globalised
practice of activities related to production, processing, marketing, market (Antoine, 2009). These concerns over the rising cost of food
distribution, utilization and trade of food, fibre and feed’. In and products has led to a rethinking, if not renewed interest, in
today’s world, there may need to be additional securing some component of the region’s food and nutrition needs
elements, particularly fuel. The World Trade from within the region. The value chain approach provides a well-
Organisation (WTO) Agreement on proven and feasible option for the region to pursue, post-haste, its
Agriculture defines of ‘agriculture’ to agricultural development objectives.
include all agricultural products, ‘… CARICOM countries must vigorously pursue productivity
most processed agricultural advances, through technical change and innovation, as well
products, as well as a few as the more efficient use of production factors, product and
specific products, such process diversification, as the central drivers for agricultural
as, hides, skins development generally, and importantly, for raising incomes
and raw silk, among the predominantly small but also medium and large
wool sized agri-food firms.3

2 3 ‘Implementing the CARICOM Community Agriculture Policy (CCAP) ~

economy/Private_Sector_Development/Value_chains_and_cluster_ Issues, Options and Process’, Patrick Antoine, 2009, IICA-CTA, ISBN13:

4 AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009

Alleviating Constraints to Building Competitive Value Chains
Alleviating key binding constraints, generating competitive Implementation of the KBC alleviation strategy is being
business and building capacity for enhanced food security and elaborated and managed by a pre-existing Lead Country/Lead
rural life in CARICOM will continue to be elusive goals if the re- Agency institutional mechanism. This mechanism, in place since
gion drags its feet on taking an integrated and chain approach the 1996 Regional Transformation Programme (RTP) for Agricul-
to agricultural and rural development. .” 2 ture, has been strengthened with “The establishment of a Techni-
In 2004, a regional consultation specified nine out of a cal Management Advisory Committee (TMAC) for each of the Con-
long list of constraints to competitive agriculture in CARICOM in- straints, with the Lead Country Minister or his Nominee chairing the
cluding building integrated and competitive value chains. These Committee and the Lead Agency having responsibility for ensur-
subsequently formed the base for defining the 2005 Regional Strat- ing the technical and regional perspectives and synergies and for
egy for Alleviation of Key Binding Constraints (KBC) (Box 1). coordinating the development and implementation of the (Annual)
Box 1: Work Programme’. Work Programmes and Plans have now been
CARICOM Strategy for Alleviation of Key Binding Constraints (KBCs)
developed by the TMACs for each KBC. Work has commenced on
1. Limited financing and inadequate levels of new investments the development and implementation of an Information Platform to
2. Outdated/inefficient agricultural health and food safety systems
3. Inadequate research and development
determine, inter alia, the relevance, appropriateness and applica-
4. Fragmented and disorganised private sector bility of existing systems, measuring of progress in achieving food
5. Weak land and water distribution and management measures
6. Deficient and uncoordinated risk management measures and nutrition security in the Caribbean and an early warning system
7. Inadequate transportation systems, particularly for perishables for Food and Nutrition Security.5
8. Weak and non-integrated information and intelligence systems
and weak linkages and participation in growth market segments There is now greater urgency to make meaningful prog-
9. Lack of skilled and quality human resources. ress in alleviating these constraints. This is based on assessment
by major international agencies, including International Fund for
It is common practice in agriculture to name an industry and value Agricultural Development (IFAD), UN Economic Commission for
chain by the commodity/product – such as, sweet potato, pork or co- Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and International Food
coa value chain. However value chains are built on, driven by and all Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) that indicates that the availability
about people! Therefore, the quality of human resources (KBC #9) of food is likely to worsen with time since demand is outstripping
which will influence the quality of the environment for dialogue and supply and productivity has declined, further exacerbated by the
cooperation among stakeholders is critical to building integrated and impact of climate change and reduced availability of water for agri-
competitive value chains and to organise a fragmented private sec- cultural purposes. This in turn has implications for price levels and
tor (KBC #4). Alleviating these inter-related KBCs will involve similar stability and an elevated level of vulnerability to a larger section of
mechanisms centred on enhancing skills and providing platforms for populations to poverty and hunger.
open dialogue and equitable participation. This is also critical for The required response from the region must include
efforts to create critical mass through linkages and chain integra- greater political will, increased input of financial and technical
tion and to enhance competitiveness and establish market presence resources for agricultural development, greater emphasis on in-
through technology, innovation and good practices. creased productivity and not just increased production since global
Most of the other KBCs relate more directly to the quality food increases cannot be met through increased allocation of land,
of the essential services provided to allow the chain to integrate and accelerated support to poor and small farmers (in association with
function competitively. However, together, the nine KBCs and inter- large and medium scale producers) for socio-economic and, in
ventions proposed span the range from resource inputs necessary some countries, governance reasons, achieving a greater level of
for increased agricultural production and productivity to the adminis- Food and Nutrition Security and critically, the alleviation of the key
trative and institutional framework needed to facilitate change. binding constraints.
Alleviating these nine priority KBCs is fully consistent with These issues will, no doubt, occupy the Ministers, public officials,
those established under the hemispheric framework to improve heads of organisations, chain participants and other stakeholders
agriculture and rural life in the Americas (AGRO Plan 2003-2015). as they deliberate on the progress, challenges, new development
As a result, the issues to be discussed at the upcoming Agriculture models and strategies for enhancing agriculture’s capacity to con-
Ministerial hold much relevance for the regional process. This could tribute to growth and development at the Fifth Agriculture and Rural
greatly enhance and accelerate implementation of the regional pro- Life in the Americas Ministerial, in October in Jamaica.
cess through strategic alliances made with hemispheric partners
4 Microfinance and microinsurance in Latin America and the Caribbean:
that possess proven experience in some key areas, such as, agri- Situation and Outlook. Jesus Rivera Velasco and Jorge Caro Crapivisnky,
COMMUNIICA, Fifth Year, January-April, 2009 ISSN 1992-4933
cultural insurance for risk mitigation, such as, Brazil, Colombia, El
5 Information on status of the KBC Alleviation strategy and required regional
Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.4 response to global challenges provided by Dr. Vincent Little, IICA-CARICOM

AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009

Placing the Value Chain in Context
Adding value to local farm produce has been on top of the agriculture development agenda for a very
long time. This is based on the recognition that the value of agriculture and food products increases with
the level of processing or transformation. IICA and other development partners, such as the Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO), are actively promoting the development of agribusiness using the value
chain methodology (VC) or approach or methodology. AgriView (AV) caught up with the Agri-Business
Caribbean Regional Specialist, Robert Reid, to go beyond terminology and methodology and to deter-
mine whether actors in agriculture in the Caribbean are ready to go VCA/M.

AV>This VC analysis and/or RR>Yes, because what it does is that it allows one to identify and
methodology is not really a new to remove constraints to gain access to particular markets, even if
methodology, is it? these markets are local/regional, and in so doing, to position oneself,
in a competitive manner on a continuous basis. In other words, our
RR>Value chain analysis and the market is a market for our products and as such our farmers are
methodology have been used having a challenge in accessing new market segments, for instance
quite extensively in North America for some time now basically in the fast food chains and in countries with a more recent, yet rapidly
the industrial sector and the car manufacturing business. So it is developing hotel and hospitality segment, even too the large super-
nothing that is actually new to the world, but has been more recently market chains. So the methodology is appropriate both for export
promoted within the Caribbean. As far as agricultural activities are and domestic market development.
concerned, there has been a lot of use of the approach in Asia and
more recently in Latin American countries, so we in the Caribbean AV> If it is appropriate; if it is not new; if it is being applied in Latin
are basically recent users of this approach. American countries and elsewhere, then why has it taken so long to
‘catch-on’ in the Caribbean? Does it have anything to do with defi-
AV> I recall in the early 90s when IICA was actively involved with the ciencies in policy planning for agriculture?
French Mission for Technical Cooperation (FMTC) was very active in
the Eastern Caribbean States (ECS), they were promoting what was RR> Well, for things to catch on, we must have people to articulate
the ‘commodity chain analysis’ (CCA). Is there a difference? IICA it. And I think that you have not had many persons involved in agri-
is a common thread in Latin America and the Caribbean. Was IICA business per sé who are promoting the whole concept that’s one.
instrumental in introducing the methodology in agriculture in CARI- Secondly, we are not having persons even taught agribusiness and
COM? the whole value chain concept coming out of our regional education
institutions. We teach people about discrete things; plant pathology,
RR>Both IICA and FAO have been promoting the methodology, as etc., but never training them to think about an integrated circuit of
well as other private agribusiness concerns that using that approach. activities.
All analytical tools for assessing competitiveness by themselves
don’t make you arrive at a competitive position. With globalisation AV>Can the VCA/M, therefore add value to accelerating progress in
people have now come to a position that we need to match analy- the current strategy aimed at alleviating nine key binding constraints
sis with dialogue and a competitiveness agreement between actors to agricultural competitiveness?
along a particular value chain. So whereas we had the commodity
analysis approach, which was straight analytical work, not matched RR>It must! It must! It is not a scientific thing by itself; it is a mixture
to dialogue and agreements among chain actors. of what they call socio-economic theory. In other words, people have
to sit down to have dialogue, to come to consensus about where
AV>Is it just terminology or is there a major difference between the they want to go. So the approach is valid; wherever we are going
CCA and the VCA/M or should the emphasis be on the process? with the JI people need to communicate and not to think of them-
selves and discrete entities in a movie.
RR>I would not be splitting hairs over what it is defined as; what is
more important is that we start to develop the capacity to use the in- AV> You are convinced that the VCA/M is the way to go in agriculture
struments and tools of analysis. Those tools are broken down to a 5- at this stage of its development, the challenges ahead and expecta-
stage process where we look at the impact of the international trade tions of elevated pressures for food security?
and production and domestic trade and production on value chains;
we look at functionality of these chains; and create circuits; and then RR>I don’t see any other approach! I have used the methodology for
we do interpretation. Once we put all of that together, then we have the development of the pork industry in Jamaica and we have seen
dialogue among the actors. So forget about how it is described. Think whereby the final cut is now competitive to its international supplies
instead of the process - that is “the full range of activities required to out of Canada. I think that the approach can be applied. I don’t know
bring a product or service through the different phases of production if there is another approach that can have any greater benefit. But
(including physical transformation, and the input of various produc- you know as we develop over years, we have experiences, there is
ers and services), in response to consumer demand”. now talk about ‘new generation’ producer organisations and you are
saying, ‘how does that fit into the value chains?’ Because here you
AV>In the past, and even now, the emphasis has been on export are taking about farmer groups now not just being farmer groups or
agriculture and building value added for expanded exports. Is there producers by themselves but taking more of the action downstream,
an understanding that the instrument and tools can be as effectively in terms of developing products for the market. So you will have new
applied to build value chains for domestic/regional food security concepts and new ideas coming to bear, but I think the VCA/M will
needs? stand for some time within this region.

6 AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009

AV> Do you think the region is ready for going the value-chain way of food security and where consumers now are asking for more value
in policy and business? for their money. It’s a global market place; they’re consumers are
exposed to products. But to tell you the truth, a lot of our buyers and
RR> As I said, you must have people promoting the concept; and consumers would like to get stuff from their own domestic producers
once you promote the concept then you have to take the next step of because they have a little more trust in their freshness. But what we
letting people internalise, which is also a process in itself. In order for have to do is to build a competitive position and that position can
them to internalise and move them to action they must see examples only come from joint action and understanding what is happening in,
of where it has had positive results. And they must also know the not only the market place, but with the producer himself. Bottom line
challenges involved. So here’s where cooperation comes in whereby is that I think we will be successful with this approach once we have
IICA takes people and shows them where it works. So to me, it has enough persons articulating it and promoting the position.
to happen; it has to happen. Now is the time, particularly in this period

The VC in Brief
Extracted from “A Handbook for Value Chain Research”
By Raphael Kaplinsky and Mike Morris (undated) available at

At the simplest level value chain analysis (VCA) plots the flow of goods and services up and down the chain and between different chains to
final consumers. This is in itself a valuable task. There is a considerable overlap between the concept of a value chain and similar concepts
used in other contexts. One important source of confusion is that of terminology. There was the ‘value stream” (by Womack, J.P. & D.T Jones,
1996) to refer to what is now called the value chain. There is the French concept of the filiere (translated literally to mean “thread”) that is
essentially no different from value stream or value chain. A third similar concept is that of global commodity chains, introduced by Gereffi, G.
during the mid-1990s, which have enabled important advances to be made in the analytical and normative usage of the value chain concept,
particularly because of its focus on the power relations which are imbedded in VCA or the role of ‘governance’ in terms of either ‘buyer-driven
commodity chains’ or ‘producer-driven commodity chains’.

In this era of rapid globalization, there are three main sets of reasons why VCA is important.
1. With growing division of labour and global dispersion of production of components, systemic competitiveness has become increasingly
2. Efficiency in production is only a necessary condition for successfully penetrating global markets
3. Entry into global markets which allows for sustained income growth – that is, making the best of globalisation - requires an understanding
of dynamic factors within the whole value chain

VCA focuses on the dynamics of inter-linkages within the productive sector, especially how firms and countries are globally integrated. It:
• overcomes a number of important weaknesses of traditional sectoral analysis which struggles to deal with dynamic linkages between
productive activities that go beyond that particular sector, whether they are inter-sectoral in nature or between formal and informal sector
• allows for an easy uncovering of the dynamic flow of economic, organisational and coercive activities between producers within different
sectors even on a global scale by its concentration on inter linkages beyond just the firm-specific analysis.
• makes it easy to analyse the inter-relationship between formal and informal work (with workers, particularly in developing countries,
moving often seamlessly from one to the other) and not to view them as disconnected spheres of activity.
• is particularly useful for new producers – including poor producers and poor countries – who are trying to enter global markets in a manner
which would provide for sustainable income growth.
• is useful as an analytical tool in understanding the policy environment which provides for the efficient allocation of resources within the
domestic economy, notwithstanding its primary use thus far as an analytic tool for understanding the way in which firms and countries
participate in the global economy.

A key strength is that it highlights the systemic interconnectedness of Fig. 1 : V al ue ch ai n m apping : T he o ry and r e a lity
individual enterprises and links in the chain. However, value chains are
complex, and particularly in the middle tiers, individual firms may feed into
a variety of chains. Which chain – or chains – is/are the subject of enquiry
therefore very much depends on the point of entry for the research inquiry.
Some points of entry are retailers, independent buyers, key producers, sub-
suppliers, commodity producers, agricultural producers, small farms and firms,
informal economy producers and traders and women, children and other
marginalised and exploited groups. In each case, the point of entry will define
which links and which activities in the chain are to be subject of special enquiry.
For example, if the concern is with small and medium sized firms which feed
into a number of value chains, then the point of entry might require the research
to focus on final markets, buyers and their buyers in a number of sectors and
on a variety of input providers. Once the point of entry is defined, one of the
problems which arise is that the theory of value chains suggests simplicity and
an easy clarity of focus. However, the real world can be much messier, and the
researcher will sometimes have to make arbitrary decisions on what to map in
charting a path through complex value chains (Fig.1).

AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009 7

Forging Chains in Agriculture – one link at a time!
With few exceptions, agricultural diversification discussing the options for implementing a CSME
was based on ‘picking’ a few ‘commodities’ that Community Agricultural Policy (CCAP), Antoine
exhibited the characteristics of a ‘winner’ in (2009) advised that ‘a commodity focus is not the
increasingly competitive export markets. Non- best approach for this purpose. The region can no
traditional commodities, such as, mango, ginger, longer base its development process on ‘picking
hot pepper, avocado, passion fruit, papaya and winners’.
other ‘exotic’ fruits, likely to be more competitive There is now a discernable difference in
with better growth potential were ‘picked’. Their approach to commodity-led development in
development was driven mainly by externally- agriculture. The descriptor ‘commodity’ no longer
financed regional and national projects to raise stands on its own: it is explicitly and firmly linked
productivity levels, enhance competitiveness, to the words ‘value chain’. CARICOM is seeking
expand production and encourage value- to develop and/or strengthen arrangements for
adding, where possible, to drive exports. Studies focused commodities, which to a large extent,
undertaken by the CARICOM Secretariat under remain those defined under the 1996 RTP. The EU-
the Regional Transformation Programme (RTP) CARICOM Agribusiness Development Programme
for agriculture concluded that “attempts at is premised on the conclusion that agribusiness can
agricultural diversification and the development be made much more efficient and comprehensive
of non-traditionals have only experienced limited if it is placed within a strategic framework following
success, certainly marginal in quantum relative a multi-sectoral systemic approach, taking into
to the economic decline being experienced by account the broader social, technological, and
the traditionals.” By the end of 2008, a marked other factors that are re-shaping the agro-food
change in the situation was not obvious and it systems worldwide. Among the activities to be
generally concluded that most government-funded undertaken by the programme is Commodity
programmes were too ad-hoc and inadequate value chain assessments. The Caribbean Agri-
to effectively address limitations of small size Business Association (CABA) is also promoting
and scale, natural constraints, sectoral wage vertical integration within established clusters
imbalances, high input costs, including energy and the development of new clusters in traditional
and limited private sector participation. and non-traditional components of agriculture to minimise waste,
Import substitution policies paved the way for investment maximise market opportunities and contribute to the ‘branding’ of
in adding value to farmers’ produce to develop agro-processing, distinctive Caribbean products, to drive development of competitive
which for most CARICOM countries, was the foundation for their and integrated value chains, from farm to table.
industrial sector. From all indications, this policy also appears to There are also several externally-funded regional projects to
have not borne much fruit or, in this case, much jelly. While the strengthen the development of agriculture using the ‘value chain
CARICOM landscape is dotted with several small scale enterprises approach’, such as the All-ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme
adding value to local produce, the fewer, but larger CARICOM aimed at, inter alia, building capacity of stakeholders along the
agro-processing industries have dominated the structure and commodity value chain to conceive and implement sustainable
development of the regional agro-processing (food and beverage) commodity strategies. For CARICOM countries, a value-chain led
industry. These large firms, classified under the manufacturing development of agriculture will be crucial to achieving the objectives
sector, add value more, to imported raw material and agricultural embedded in the theme of the 2009 Hemispheric Agriculture
produce, than to local farm produce. While the CARICOM treaty Ministerial - Building Capacity for Enhanced Food Security and
emphasises the need to support local content in agro-industry, it Rural Life. Relatively successful examples of chains in non-
also makes provision for the sourcing of raw material if these cannot traditional agriculture are the Caribbean Poultry Association (CPA)
be sourced competitively from regional suppliers. It is this provision and the Pork Association of the Caribbean (PAC), which provide
that has, by default, fuelled the reliance on extra-regional imports for ample evidence that ‘scale’ problems can be overcome.
agro-industrial raw material supplies for big business. Hence, while As an instrumental partner to the process, IICA’s Value Chain
import-substitution policies spawned a number of these industries, Development Agribusiness Caribbean Programme is expected to
these same policies also led to an escalation of agriculture and add value to regional efforts to forge chains in agriculture, one link
food import bills in the region as a significant part of the food and at a time. IICA’s programme focuses at the regional level, supporting
agriculture imports feeds directly into manufacturing firms. CABA, strengthening the private sector agribusiness association
In its 2009 Concept Note for the EU-CARICOM in order for the association to effectively participate in the Jagdeo
Agribusiness Development Programme, the CARICOM Secretariat Initiative, and to execute its mandate as lead organisation on the
acknowledged that “the region imports considerably more food issue of marketing and fragmented private sector. At another level,
than the amount exported, even in food categories, such as fruit the IICA programme is working work with the value chain instrument
and vegetables, imports have increased despite sufficient domestic to support value chain activities throughout the hemisphere. The
supplies, in most of the countries, to cover their needs”. By the activities primarily promote the establishment of dialogue platforms
end of 2008, the shock of high and rising food prices left many in between small and medium sized producers and buyers within the
awe at the speed in the region could be plunged in a food insecure domestic markets. The intent is to have these platforms established
situation. The food riots in Haiti, and parts of Latin America and in most countries as a basis for strengthening ‘linkages’. Such
Africa were wake-up calls. Food and nutrition policies topped promotional activities have started in Trinidad and Tobago and the
the agenda in all meetings and regional fora and on international Bahamas. In terms of the human resource capacity building, the
development agencies work programme and projects. The need to programme is providing hands-on training within institutions that
‘pick focussed commodities’ as a strategy to obtain visible results support agribusiness development, such as NAMDEVCO and the
sooner rather than later is once again a strategy of choice. In Bahamas Agricultural Development Cooperation.

8 AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009

Ministerial Matters…Agenda Jamaica 2009
October 26-29, 2009

The Fifth Agriculture and Rural Life of Agenda Issues: What Should Be Your ‘ NB’s’
the Americas Ministerial in Jamaica
Report on the - How, why and when did that process start?
is a much-anticipated event. It takes
Ministerial - What does/how can it make a difference to my business,
place from 26-29 October 2009, as
Process operations, livelihood?
part of the Week of Agriculture and
- Who makes the decisions in this process and what is my
Rural Life in the Americas. scope/opportunity to influence?

Outside of issues related to the Draft Hemispheric - What is this/how is it drafted/who signs it?
management of process itself and Ministerial - Is it legally binding/what are the mechanisms for compliance
its fit within the wider inter-American Agreement and non-compliance?
Development Agenda under the Summit - How is/will it be implemented/what has been the progress to
of the Americas, the agenda of the date?
Ministerial is all about agriculture, - Where can I get a copy?
placing issues, such as ‘food security’,
State and Outlook - Who prepares this report? Where can I get a copy?
squarely on the table. AV provides
for Agriculture, - Is the Caribbean (CARICOM) sufficiently visible within the
information on the Provisional Schedule
Food Security Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) bloc?
to stimulate interest in the process itself
and Rural life in - What is the objective of preparing this report?
and more importantly, in encouraging
the Americas - Does it provide clear ‘ways forward’/ Who will use it and how?
active participation in the dialogue. Just
as the Summit process does not belong Challenges for - Are these new challenges in addition to the several old ones?
to the Heads of State and Governments, Agriculture and - What new strategies will be proposed to address them more
the Agriculture Ministerial does not Rural life effectively than the old remaining challenges?
belong only to Ministers of Agriculture - How equipped are Caribbean countries, given predictions of a
and their public servants. It belongs to 2+year recession, to meet these challenges?
the people of the Americas, especially Situation, - How will all the ideas from such diverse perspectives be
the mass of micro and small farmers, Public Policies, forged into a feasible set of strategies?
entrepreneurs and processors and the Private Sector - Who approves the strategies and who will implement them?
families and communities that continue Contribution and - What is the role of national, regional, hemispheric and
to depend on them for job, income and Working Together international organisations in implementation?
food security and environmental health, for Food Security - What is the role of CARICOM’s trade and economic
among others. and Sustainable agreements in enabling the region’s response?
Development - What mechanisms exist to avoid repeating past mistakes?
AV jumpstarts your thought process by
A new model of - What were the old models and where did they go wrong?
suggesting key issues you should seek
development- a - How did this new model emerge /what are the ‘new’
to understand, obtain clarification or
proposal for considerations/conditioning factors?
influence decision making. We would building capacity - Is this model only limited to food security/can it be applied to
be quite happy to furnish some possible for food security sustainable agriculture development?
answers and/or provide information as a in the Americas. - Are countries and regions ready for this new model?
guide in coming up with your own. This - What is the process of moving from model to action?
is not in any way meant to question the - Where can I get a copy?
validity or efficacy of the process, but
a reflection of the curiosities, queries,
concerns and comments noted over Just as the process did not end after the Summit concluded, the process for agriculture
the last 18 months and especially, in will not end after the Ministerial concludes on 29 October. How it continues and
the aftermath of the Fifth Summit of the what impact it makes beyond the months-long preparations and the two or three
Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago. days of meetings is also up to all of us! Be informed, get empowered, stay involved
Perhaps the fact that for the first time, and demand accountability. In Jamaica, the process will continue for agriculture in
these top-level hemispheric meeting are October.
being hosted by Caribbean countries,
partially explains the heightened This year, the process for agriculture in the Americas will also coincide with a change
curiosity. AV urges all stakeholders in administration of IICA, the Secretariat for the Ministerial Meetings. The Inter-
to go beyond the curiosity and ‘study’ American Board of Agriculture (IABA) will receive an accountability report for the
the agenda items and contribute, in 2002-2008 period and a proposed 2010-2011 programme budget from the outgoing
any way possible to the identification Director General, Dr. Chelston W.D. Brathwaite. Ministers will also elect a new
of challenges, sharing of positive Director General of IICA for the next four year period, commencing in January 2010.
experiences and best practices and Other activities of the Week of Agriculture and Rural Life in the Americas include
definition of feasible strategies and a 3-day Exhibition under the theme ‘Agriculture-Advancing Rural Life to 2015 and
projects for implementation in countries. Beyond’ and the 2006-2008 Inter-American Awards in the Rural Sector.

AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009 9

Agriculture being positioned to tackle
the ‘silent tsunami’ in the Americas

‘Food security’ will remain a priority on the development agenda of the Americas to year end. As a continuation of the Summit
of the Americas process, Ministers of Agriculture from 34 countries of the Americas meet in Jamaica, in October, to discuss
ways to build capacity for enhancing food security. In 2007, food prices around the world rose suddenly and sharply and the
reach and extent of the impact caused the World Food Program (WFP) to describe it as the “silent tsunami”.

The causes of crisis in food supply and prices have been been producing. After years of drawing down stockpiles, in 2007
well documented and include increased demand from emerging the world saw global carryover stocks fall to 61 days of global
economies, such as, China and India, weather-induced failures consumption, the second lowest on record! The situation was so
in major crops, such as, wheat and rice, rising fertiliser prices critical that at the end of 2008, the World Bank announced its “New
and the shifting of crop use from food to fuel. Global wheat prices Deal for Global Food Policy”, that aimed to combine immediate
increased a staggering 181% between 2005 and early 2008, financial assistance to hard-hit countries with long-term lending to
contributing to an overall increase of 83% in global food prices. boost agricultural productivity. Why target agricultural productivity?
In its June 2009 issue feature of National Geographic, Because according to Joachim von Braun Director General of the
an article on ‘The Global Food Crisis - The ‘End of Plenty’ by Joel International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C.,
K. Bourne Jr., pointed to a more serious problem: for most of the “agricultural productivity growth is only one to two percent a year…
past decade, the world has been consuming more food than it has too low to meet population growth and increased demand.”

“Modern society has relieved us of the burden of growing, harvesting, even preparing our daily bread, in
exchange for the burden of simply paying for it. Only when prices rise do we take notice. And the
consequences of our inattention are profound” (Joel K. Bourne Jr. 2009, June 2009 National Geographic)

Indeed, Caribbean countries are now grappling with the serious development thrust has essentially been one driven by export
consequences of decades of inattention paid to agriculture as the expansion and competitiveness in extra-regional markets leaving
main source of food security. Agriculture, at least in Caribbean several Caribbean countries vulnerable to rising food prices and
countries, is still trying to avert a crisis of decades of misaligned disruptions in food supplies either from trade and/or hurricanes
policies and dis-investment that have undermined the capacity for and other similar extreme weather event. With the food crisis
food production. In the 1970s, countries throughout Latin America still fresh in the minds of Caribbean citizens, headlines in some
and the Caribbean were encouraged by the International Monetary national newspapers are already reporting that ‘food prices are
Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, to develop their export sectors falling’, suggesting that the crisis is, or may soon be over. This is
and downplay economic policies prioritising self-sufficiency, both not likely to be the case as global projections suggest that prices
in terms of food production and manufactured goods, such as, may not revert to their previous lows any time soon.
import substitution. The result was priority development of ‘cash Bourne Jr. (2009) warned that ‘even though prices
crops’ for exports, such as banana, sugar, coffee, etc, to developed have fallen with the imploding world economy, they are still near
countries. record highs, and the underlying problems of low stockpiles, rising
For decades, export earnings from these commodities population, and flattening yield growth remain. Climate change—
financed the imports of agricultural and food products, until the with its hotter growing seasons and increasing water scarcity—is
1986 Uruguay Round of multinational trade negotiations led to a projected to reduce future harvests in much of the world, raising
liberalization of agricultural domestic regimes and world markets, the spectre of what some scientists are now calling a perpetual
resulting in sharp declines in export prices. As a response food crisis.’ This adds to a long list of serious challenges already
strategy, the region has emphasised agricultural diversification faced by small Caribbean countries trying to reverse the effects of
and industry development based on a handful of commodities decades-long neglect of agriculture to maintain a reasonable level
with perceived good export potential. While there were some of food security.
efforts to develop food production capacity, the agricultural
. . . . identifying the principle challenges inherent to sustainable development of agriculture and rural life

The theme of the Fifth Ministerial is ‘Building Capacity UN News Centre, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
for Enhanced Food Security and Rural Life in the Americas. Director-General, Jacque Diouf, stressed that the Summit, to
Issues related to capacity building, as a key and indispensable be held in Rome at the 36th Session of the Conference of the
development strategy, are expected to feature prominently in the Organization, would reach tangible results by securing broad
discussions. Of necessity, the issue of building capacity must consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger and setting
be viewed from a long-term perspective that must provide clear a new world food order. The FAO’s DG expects the Summit to
directions with respect to raising agricultural productivity, among ‘lead to greater coherence in the global governance of world
other things. Agriculture Ministers of the Americas are not the only food security. It will define how we can improve policies and
leaders that will be talking ‘food security’. the structural aspects of the international agricultural system by
The United Nations (UN) is calling for a ‘2009 Summit on putting forward lasting political, financial and technical solutions to
World Food Crisis’ in November, which has apparently received the problem of food insecurity in the world’.
support from CARICOM Heads of State, as well as President Luiz The Agriculture Ministerial could jump-start discussions
Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil and President Michelle Bachelet of in the proposed FAO Food Crisis Summit that could also feed into
Chile at the end of the recently concluded Fifth Summit of the the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit scheduled for
Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. According to the November in Trinidad and Tobago.

10 AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009

Also to be discussed in the Ministerial are the challenges
experienced by countries in implementing national strategies for the The reports are structured according to the Agro-matrix framework
improvement of agriculture and rural life, taking into consideration that defines twelve (12) Purposes and their Strategic Actions for
the need to promote with agricultural stakeholders a broad based achieving the common goal. These 12 Purposes are:
approach to thinking and acting in agriculture and the rural milieu Promote competitive rural enterprises;
and a “working together” approach to improve agriculture and rural I. Promote productivity, forge linkages and integrate chains
life in the Americas. II. from farm to market;
In preparation for the Ministerial, IICA, which holds the Promote an enabling policy, regulatory and institutional
position of ‘Secretariat of Ministerial Meetings’ for Agriculture and III. environment for competitive business;
Rural Life, is coordinating a process of review of member states Promote good environmental practices in rural areas;
progress towards the goals of Agro Plan 2003-2015. Agro Plan 1V. Promote integrated environmental management in the
is the shared long-term agenda for promoting the sustainable V. chain;
development of agriculture and rural communities. Progress Build an environmentally-friendly regulatory and institutional
towards Agro Plan is defined according to seven Strategic VI. framework;
Objectives that includes Food and Nutrition Security. Facilitate improved quality of life and access to basic services
In the 2007 Ministerial, Ministers and their senior officials VII. in rural areas;
agreed that as part of the process, “national governments will Develop capacities, expertise, innovation and
deliver reports on progress in implementing each biennial agenda VIII. entrepreneurship in the chain;
and identify challenges faced. These reports will serve as input Promote social development policies to improve lives,
for updating the Agenda for the following period’. These reports IX. livelihoods and equal opportunity;
will also be a critical input into the drafting of the ‘Hemispheric Strengthen cooperation among public and private sector and
Ministerial Agreement-Jamaica 2009’. In the instructions on X. civil society in rural areas;
preparing the National reports, the IICA Secretariat noted that Strengthen dialogue, partnerships and commitments in the
“capacity building for the XI. chain;
sustainable development of Promote enabling national policies and strengthen regional
agriculture and the rural milieu XII. integration and international cooperation.
has been a constant priority of
the Ministers and Secretaries of It is the expectation that based on its theme actions to be agreed
Agriculture in all the Ministerial on will complement and/or accelerate ongoing and planned efforts
Meetings “Agriculture and Rural to position agriculture on a much firmer and sustainable footing to
life in the Americas”. This has deal with the issue of food security in the region and hemisphere.
been reflected in the AGRO 2003- Member states are already implementing a suite of actions to
2015 Plan through the strategic ward-off the ‘silent tsunami’ in this region, including encouraging
actions defined in the meetings citizens to ‘grow what you eat’ using grow-boxes, patio-farming
that took place in Panamá 2003, and similar methods to maximise food production in small spaces
Guayaquil 2005 and Guatemala and in urban areas. Any action, regardless of how small, will count
2007. These actions are broad in the fight against hunger and nutritional-related health problems.
in scope covering individuals, Agriculture and food production, whether on a subsistence or
companies, rural community commercial scale, will continue to have a key and central role in
organizations as well as public this cause.
agricultural institutions”.

 
3 Development Partners 
12 Development Purposes 
4 Development Priorities  1. Stimulate 2. Forge links, 3. Develop
enterprise and integrate chains; national policies
Economic: competitive and improve for competitive
business … productivity …. business ….
4. Promote good 5. Promote 6. Create pro-
Ecological: environmental integrated environment
practices … environmental policies and
Sustainability management… institutions …

Socio-Cultural 7. Enhance 8. Encourage 9. Integrate

Human: access to learning, equity & social
resources and innovation and protection into
basic services… entrepreneurship growth policy..

Institutional: 10. Strengthen 11. Strengthen 12.Strengthen
Governance public & private dialogue, national policy &
Christine Wilson of sector, civil commitment and regional and
society partnerships international
“Studio Kreativity INC.” partnerships…. among actors…. cooperation …
Making custom paper products from
banana waste. Saint Lucia. Directly
related to objectives of
Cells 1, 2, 4 and 8.

AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009 11

Caribbean Ministers of Agriculture - Who’s Who


Dr. The Honourable The Honourable The Honourable
Christopher Tufton, M.P. Matthew Walter Cedric Roy Liburd
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Minister of Agriculture, Fish- Minister of Housing, Agriculture
Host Minister of the Fifth eries and Forestry and Fisheries


The Honourable Excelentísimo Señor Ing. The Honourable
Hilson Baptiste Salvador Jiménez Ezechiel Joseph
Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Hous- Secretario de Estado de Minister for Agriculture, Lands,
ing and Environment Agricultura Forestry and Fisheries


The Honourable The Honourable DINES
Lawrence S. Cartwright, M.P. Michael Denis Lett The Honourable
Minister of Agriculture and Marine Minister of Agriculture, For- Montgomery Daniel
Resources estry and Fisheries Minister of Agriculture, Forestry
and Fisheries

barbados GUYANA barbados

Senator The Honourable The Honourable The Honourable
Haynesley L.Benn Robert Persaud Kermechend Raghoebarsing
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Minister of Agriculture Minister of Agriculture, Animal
Development Husbandry and Fisheries

belize HAITI trinidad and tobago

The Honourable Son Excellence Monsieur Senator The Honourable
Rene Montero Joanas Gué Arnold A. Piggott
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries- Ministre de l´Agriculture, des Minister of Agriculture, Land and
Resources Ressources Naturelles et du Marine Resources
Développement Rural

Snapshot of Actions Taken by Caribbean Countries to Enhance Food Security

Rising Food Prices: Trends, Causes, Implications and Policy Approaches to the Global Food Crisis in the Caribbean, September, 2008. Research
Paper by Alisa Mitchell.

National policy responses to the food crisis were diverse. However, the main focus has been on increasing access to food and in
strengthening the relevant actions needed to ensure that adequate food is available by ensuring production and that it is affordable
to be accessed by consumers. These were intended to be temporary short-medium term measures to alleviate pressures of rising
food and fuel prices.
• price controls: most common response, targeted mainly at consumers to increase affordability and thus access to the commodity
• subsidies to inputs and distribution of inputs: targeted mainly at producers to strengthen production, make more food crops more
available and build resilience and sustainability in food supply;
• income transfers and food distribution programmes: to increase purchasing power and access to food especially of the more

While short-term measures are important, building capacity for food security is a long-term issue and policy responses must include
appropriate financing for production, public information and promotion, science and technology, technical advisory information and
services. While such policy responses have the potential to transform a relatively dormant agriculture into a vibrant industry, less than
half of the countries for which data were available, incorporated these elements into their responses.

12 AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009

Growing agri-business - one enterprise at a time!
In 1988, CARICOM declared the “Year of Business” to promote increased productivity, employment and income, development
of small business and encouragement of entrepreneurial activity. Donor funding supported the establishment of public-sec-
tor projects aimed at facilitating and promoting public sector/private sector partnership for business development. Donor
financing also fuelled expansion in the number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) providing micro-credit loans to
entrepreneurs, to fund various technical assistance projects and to boost the capacity of the NGOs themselves. Ten years
later, in 2008, the need to build a critical mass of entrepreneurs generally and specifically in agriculture remained urgent. In
2009, Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) still find it difficult to access innovative and appropriate financial
services and they remain largely “unbanked”. The following highlights innovative responses to the financing problem.

‘When women and youth are empowered, decently employed Economic growth can only be sustained through a
and encouraged to take full economic participation and their sequence of successful enterprises,
abilities to start and grow businesses are strengthened, all ‘One High Performance Enterprise
stakeholders will see tremendous benefits.’ after Another’.
Marcia Brandon, Executive Director of the Barbados Youth Basil Springer, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust (CBET)
Business Trust (BYBT).

What happens when you combined youth, women and enterprise? Basil Springer, for the past seven years, has been developing
Birth and growth of small business, such as that spawned and the Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust (CBET) Shepherding
nurtured in 2001 by Nelva Magloire. Nelva saw an opportunity to Model™ in response to what he describes as ‘entrepreneurs faced
start a new business within her community – plantain chips to sell with the mantra from traditional financial institutions “we do not
to students of the Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) in fund start-ups”’. The Barbados model is based on the operation
Portsmouth, Dominica. She took the opportunity and set to work of four elements that together, provide a national focus to develop
in her mother’s kitchen. Soon demand for her chips outstripped a family of successful high performance agricultural enterprises
supply; customers were impressed by its quality. This motivated one enterprise after another using. These are the (1) National
Nelva to look beyond RUSM expanding her market into tourism Agricultural Trading Trust, (2) The CBET Shepherding Model™,
sites in her immediate community. (3) Barbados Quick Response Seed Capital Revolving and Growth
The business was growing and Nelva needed a new Fund and (4) Barbados Quick Response Venture Capital Fund.
location, new and improved equipment, and most of all, she Regarding the latter two, this twin fund concept, in combination,
needed training. As a member of the National Association of provides a robust alternative to the traditional model.
Youth in Agriculture (NAYA), she was awarded assistance under The CBET Shepherding Model™ promoted as necessary
an IICA/FAO funded project ‘Strengthening and Expanding Rural and sufficient for sustainable business success. The CBET
Income Streams’. This project enabled her to purchase new model (researched in 12 Caricom Countries) was a Caribbean
stainless steel tables, a slicer, a 50lb gas deep dryer, a heat sealer Development Bank Initiative passed on to the Private Sector
and a refrigerator, and other operating materials, such as, hair (2001).The shepherding element should be of particular interest to
nets, knives, aprons and mitts. The project also assisted Nelva to agencies desirous of innovative and flexible models of supporting
undertake nutritional analysis of her product and enhance product start-up and small businesses. A feature of the shepherding model
labelling and packaging. Critically, the ‘capacity gaps’, i.e., areas is that funds will not be made available to the entrepreneur unless he
outside the scope of the project, were filled by IICA, NAYA and agrees to have a Shepherd assigned to him/her. The shepherding
the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. With access to process is designed to reduce the risk of failure and, in that sense,
family land, an independent facility, designed for efficient plantain the concept “shepherding as collateral” has emerged. Shepherds
chip production, was constructed for “Nelly’s Chips”. It includes are selected based on significant experience and ‘learning’ in some
a water bath for washing raw materials and new state-of-the-art field related to business and not necessarily on Ph.D qualifications.
processing equipment. She now employs an agro-processor who This new initiative is presented as a partnership between CBET,
is knowledgeable in processing technology and food safety issues. the Government of a sovereign country and local and foreign direct
Nelly’s Chips is now one of six model projects supported by IICA in investors. CBET Inc. Barbados Government-Private Sector Seed
collaboration with FAO in the Eastern Caribbean States. While Nelva and Venture Capital Partnership were rolled out in Barbados in
is considered the primary November 15 2008. Other clients are expected to be rolled-out
beneficiary, the Project during the course of 2009.
is expected to impact Contact Basil Springer at or www.cbetmodel.
her family, community, org.
country and region There are many similar stories throughout the Caribbean.
as it will be used as a Unfortunately, many of these aspiring opportunity-driven
model for training and entrepreneurs still struggle to find ready finance and
encouraging like-minded business support that matches their specific needs at the
individuals or groups to time when they need is greatest. With models, such as,
follow in her footsteps. CBET, this problem could be easily solved. Agriculture is
Source: Adapted ripe with opportunities to start and grow business, literally.
from the IICA ECS What better time than to subscribe to a new mantra, that of
Newsletter ‘breeding and growing agripreneurs’ “one high performance
enterprise at a time.”

AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009 13

TTABA .. creating links and adding value to local produce
On May 3rd 2007, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago officially TTABA operates as a market intermediary and
launched the National Agri-business Development Programme, (NADP). establishes purchasing agreements/contracts with buyer
NADP’s goals are to: (1) move agriculture beyond the narrow focus on groups and supplier agreements/contracts with farmers’
primary production to a broader context of agri-business and from a associations at agreed guaranteed prices. TTABA is
minor to a major sector in national economic and social development; directly involved in agro-processing in the Agro-processing
(2) move agriculture from largely numbers of small disorganized low Services Centre, transforming primary products into stable,
technology farmers and agro-processors to a highly organized small first stage value-added agro-processed raw material for
medium enterprise (SME) sector backed by high level technology and supplying downstream buyers, including food processors,
technical support including a contract production and marketing service; restaurants and institutions, such as, the school feeding
and to (3) introduce large farms, establish a national agro-processing programme. TTABA also offers contract food processing
centre and focus on selected commodities for development of a range services for a range of second and third stage value-
of innovative, value-added products targeted at the local, regional and added consumer packaged products to the private sector
international markets. particularly to existing consumer food distributors such
The NADP is being jointly implemented by the Ministry of as supermarkets, importers and exporters. Products
Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources and the Trinidad and Tobago developed to date include paw paw ketchup, cassava fries,
Agribusiness Association (TTABA). Its main components are a: (1) sweet potato fries, coconut water and soup pack, various
National Contract Production and Marketing Service, considered to be the value added products from root crops.
nerve centre, (2) National Agro-processing Service, the basis on which the TTABA, in collaboration with NAMDEVCO and
expansion of the sector is premised and (3) Research and Development the Ministry of Agriculture, provides technical support to
Service, intended to actively facilitate the removal of constraints to the farmers, in preparing their lands, establishing irrigation
production, processing and marketing of the commodities. ponds, advising on agronomic practices and addressing
TTABA is a private Not for Profit Company established by agri- constraints, such as, inadequate labour and praedial larceny
business sector stakeholders. It is led by a Board of Directors drawn and promoting increased use of greenhouses and other
from representatives across the entire agri-business sector, including appropriate technology. TTABA works primarily with farmer
the Farmers Associations, the Supermarket Association, The Hotel and groups to procure raw materials and to achieve greater
Restaurant Association, the Agro-processors Association, the Food organisation among producers and is involved with farmer
Exporters Association, the Housewives/Consumers Association, associations in various communities including
the input suppliers, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land & Barrackpore, Brasso Caparo, Cunupia,
Marine Resources, National Agricultural Marketing Caura, Hindustan, Lere Village,
and Development Company, the Agricultural Moruga, Plum Mitan, Rio Claro,
Development Bank (ADB) and the Tobago House Tabaquite, Tableland, Vega De
of Assembly (THA). Operationally, TTABA is Oropouche and Wallafield.
pursuing sustainability by investing any profits While recognising that
or surplus generated back into the company farmers may be experts at
and the sector. TTABA seeks to provide the production process,
products and services that will facilitate organisation within
the organized and co-ordinated planning, the sector has been
development and expansion of the local a major limitation.
agri-business sector. Over the past two Consequently, the
years, TTABA, through the implementation focus on ‘Association
of the NADP, has mobilised agribusiness development’ is of
stakeholders at various stages of the tremendous importance,
value chain, facilitating food import with special focus on
substitution through the promotion and issues of group dynamics
increased competitiveness of healthier, local and good governance.
alternatives and supporting dynamic research Working with farmers’ groups
and development. is critical since this is the first
point of contact with providers of
primary produce. Meetings, held
primarily at night to fit into farmers’
schedules, seek to provide information
on the market and contract opportunities and
training in grades and standards, record keeping, general
agronomy and technology advancements. Commodity
groups developed to date include coconut, sweet potato,
pumpkin, rabbit, paw paw, hot pepper while industry
groups developed and strengthened to date include those
for greenhouse stakeholders and exporters.

TTABA branded products:

Coconut water; Sweet potato crinkle fries.

14 AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009

The TTABA agri-business development model has been heralded
as seminal to the growth of the sector in Trinidad and Tobago.
This model, which builds on the original concept of the Caribbean
AgriBusiness Association (CABA), is being promoted to enhance
the competitiveness of the agri-food industries of CARICOM states.
Allister Glean of TTABA provides answers to some of the more
common questions asked about the model.

Q: But how different is the TTABA model from was attempted in agricultural
development in the past?
A: No other organization has the degree of public-private sector
collaboration that we have right now. TTABA is essentially a one stop
shop (Contract-Produce-Process-Market). We contract farmers to grow
the crops that we want as well as provide them with support in terms
of establishing associations; we engage in research and development,
in terms of new products and better crop yields, we add value to the Processing papaya
produce by developing a wide range of products which we market locally,
has increased the demand for its range of products.
regionally and internationally. TTABA’s private Not-For-Profit organization
The producers, processors, policy makers, distributors,
legal status also differentiates us, as it allows us to source public funds
consumers were ready.
for investment and for managing private sector projects.

Q: What ‘inspired’ or informed such a model; what is its theoretical base;

Q: what was the response from private sector, including
in other words, who came up with this ‘bright idea’?
A: The brainchild? That’s an easy one. The model is built on the
A: The private sector has been very supportive of the
original concept that organisations, such as, the Caribbean Agribusiness
TTABA initiative, which enables the development of
Association (CABA) attempted to glean from the Junto Agroempreserial
organised networks throughout the value chain. With
Dominicana (JAD) in the Dominican Republice, which mobilises the
farmers in particular, our strategy has been to seek out
major industry players to address critical industry issues.
and build relationships with the most influential farmer
However, if an individual has to be identified for the birthing of the model,
or community leader. Once they are convinced of the
it has to be Vassel Stewart, the current Chief Executive Officer of TTABA.
benefits of partnering with us, then they rally with us to
He has painstakingly toiled to make the programme a success. He also
mobilise their entire communities.
recognised that the model could only be successful if it was market
Farmers have expressed considerable support of the
driven. As such, he not only ensure that there was a market oriented
entire TTABA programme for a myriad of reasons. The
focus but also ensured that the implementers of the programme included
programme provides them with an available and ready
a processing component that would be able to ensure the value added
market, they attain invaluable training in agronomic
production of the produce as well as be able to control the vagaries
practices, good governance and grades and standards.
associated with fresh produce production and marketing. But the entire
In addition, in many cases, farmers have been able to rise
industry can be credited for this success story! The model was developed
above their subsistence level and improve their general
through a collaborative effort among during the Agricultural Sector
Reform Programme where need for the NADP was well recognised. We
lobbied government for its approval. The existence of this programme is
Q: Final words?
truly attributable to the entire agribusiness community, in particular the
A: The work of the media should not be underestimated.
There has been substantial promotion of TTABA’s
successes, through newspaper articles and television
Q: Obviously the government ‘bought-into’ the model, why do you think?
interviews, which has also proven to be an effective
A: The practicality of the model facilitated government ‘buy-into’ the. It
strategy in creating a positive corporate image.
frees up the government from having to deal with numerous individual
farmers or consumers. Now TTABA acts as the linking agency between
various actors (input suppliers, farmers, manufacturers, traders,
consumers, financiers and researchers) and plays a key role in linking
these groups with government as well. All this collaboration will allow for
greater efficiency and benefits include improved stability of food prices
through contract production and bringing vacant agricultural lands in
Trinidad and Tobago back into production. Therefore, TTABA was able to
present a model that incorporated most ideas by specialists in the region
in a manner that allows the country to address problems in a sustainable
way. This is why the government of Trinidad and Tobago was able to buy
into the model.

Q: How ready was the country for this model?

A: TTABA’s intervention has taken place at an opportune moment of
global emphasis on food security and promotion of healthy lifestyles. Our
marketing strategy, which promotes the consumption of locally produced
value-added products and healthier alternatives to imported foods, Mobilizing farmers

AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2, 2009 15

The Value of Shared Experiences Costa Rica
Trinidad and Tobago Agriculture Mission to Costa Rica From starting life as a banana republic reli-
ant on banana and coffee exports, Costa
Rica now has a successfully diversified
We often hear that ‘we need to learn from the experiences of others’ regardless of where agricultural export sector. Agriculture has
these ‘others’ are. Costa Rica is a country that we, in the Caribbean hear much about had to diversify due to regional competi-
in terms of advances in agriculture and the development of rural business. Perhaps our tion and a changing global economy. But
familiarity with Costa Rica is also because it is the headquarters of the Inter-American Costa Rica’s agricultural industry has
stayed strong by changing with the market.
Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), which has been promoting the ‘working
Costa Rica has complimented its original
together’ approach and facilitating visits of Caribbean stakeholders to centres of ‘banana republic’ exports with pineapples,
excellence. Costa Rica is one such centre. watermelons, papaya and tropical flowers,
I (Allister Glean/TTABA) was fortunate to be part of a Trinidad and Tobago as well as diversifying agricultural meth-
delegation to Costa Rica on the invitation of the IICA Director-General’s Office and ods to capitalise on new fair-trade exports,
the Centre for Leadership to the Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Marine Resources and luxury organic produce. This ability to
(MALMR) and Senator, the Honourable Mr. Arnold Piggott. As part of that delegation, adapt to changes in the global economy
I had the opportunity, to view first hand, view first-hand, some large-farm/agricultural makes the outlook for Costa Rica’s econ-
omy bright
practices, cooperative activities and minimal processing operations in several rural
communities. Costa Rica: Economic Strength by Adapta-
It was indeed an invaluable experience and in the process of trying to determine tion PRLog (Press Release) Apr 07, 2008.
lessons to learn, I made some striking observations. Firstly, small farmers in Costa Rica
do not have ‘plots’, they have acres. A small Costa Rican farmer typically operates economic-strength-by-adaptation.html
on 10-30 acres, which s/he owns, compared to the Caribbean counterpart, who can
sometimes barely scrape 5 acres, which is, in most cases, leased or operated under
some share arrangement with the land owner. Ownership means access to financing. Secondly,
lack of farm labour does not seem to be as major an issue as it is in the Caribbean. Labour
just ‘walks-across-the-border’ from a large, affordable and reliable pool in neighbouring
Nicaragua. Whether or not there is ‘free movement of labour’ within the Central American
Common Market (CACM), there are both government and private sector initiatives to
develop agriculture projects in the northern areas, close to border, to reduce the tendency
for such labour to migrate to the cities. With the exception of Guyana, Suriname and Belize,
Caribbean countries are islands, separated by sea with limited facilities for sea transport and
relatively high costs of air travel. And even with the ‘free movement of goods and services’
under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) attracting and accessing farm labour
from neighbouring is an exercise fraught with difficulties. Thirdly, and strangely enough, praedial
larceny also does not appear to be a major scourge in Costa Rica. Outside of ‘acts of God’ such
as hurricanes, praedial larceny is perhaps the worst and ‘unnatural’ hazard faced by Caribbean
farmers. There are more salient observations that suggest to me, that Costa Rica definitely has
the advantage.
While agriculture in the region may be a bit behind in some areas, it should not
undervalue its accomplishments in the areas of technical expertise, soil science and
agronomy, marketing development and rapid mobilisation of stakeholders. We also
often underestimate the capability of our private sector to engage in efficient farming
and processing of food products. In Trinidad and Tobago, building and strengthening the
so called elusive value ‘chain’ is well on its way, being spearheaded through the Trinidad
and Tobago (T&T) AgriBusiness Association (TTABA) agribusiness development model.
The TTABA model is ensuring that all key stakeholders in the chain - from farmers’ groups,
processors, Agricultural Development Bank, National Agricultural Marketing and Development
Company (NAMDEVCO), University of Trinidad and Tobago, University of the West Indies, input
suppliers, supermarket associations, hotel and restaurant associations - are on board behind one
common goal, that of building national capacity for food security. Collaboration through Partners/
Partnerships is one of the critical success factors in Costa Rica; it is also emerging as a critical
success factor in agribusiness development in T&T, with TTABA partnering with NAMDEVCO
and the Government to provide food that is affordable, healthy and innovative, such as, soup
packs, cassava and sweet-potato based products, such as, fries, crockets, cubes, wedges
and meal to make bread.
The other critical “P” factors of Costa Rica’s success are Political Will, Production
Capacity (experienced and knowledgeable producers) and Sustainable Programmes. The
TTABA model is well on its way to fully reflect these “P” factors and with partnerships from
public and private sectors in the rest of the Caribbean, is positioned to make a noticeable mark
in the national and regional thrust to build a nutritional food secure region.

Investing in Nutrition - Building Capacity for CARICOM’s Food Needs
‘a biodiversity hot spot’, with 365 days of tropical weather, that provides a perfect landscape for agri-tecture, i.e., layout of
a diverse range of agricultural, forestry and fisheries production. However, such diversity has been overshadowed by the
sheer level of chain organisation, scale and investments in crops for the raw material export market (banana, rice and sugar)
at the expense of securing food needs.

The following is extracted from ‘Investing in Food and Nutrition Security - Identifying Potential Investment Opportunities in the Agriculture
and Food Industries in CARICOM’ IICA-CTA, 2009.

In September 2007, CARICOM Heads of Governments signed among others. Such investment should also encourage value
Identifying Potential Investment Opportunities in the
the Port of Spain Declaration Uniting to Stop the Epidemic
of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs). Among
adding, such as, mixed veggie packs, that is being done on a
small scale in some CARICOM countries. The issue with fruits

Agriculture and Food Industries in CARICOM

the policy responses advocated was the need for agricultural
policies that ensure that food security is pursued in the context
is more one of availability; that is of flattening out the highly
seasonal nature, improving quality through better handling and
of incentives or subsidies for local production of the fruits, presentation, and reducing the high level of wastage due to
vegetables and whole grains required for a healthy diet. In non-use of second grade fruit.
building capacity for enhanced food security, CARICOM, as In terms of the last two food groups, animal products
a region, and as individual member states, will need to invest and fats and oils food, except for the relatively large and
in the development of its ‘food system’ to, in the first instance, established poultry, pork and other livestock industries,
assure availability. investing in expansion of livestock products needs to be
Production data suggest that if based on the Caribbean carefully thought out. This decision-making process must take
Food and Nutrition Institute’s (CFNI) 6 food groups for healthy its cue from the CFNI guidelines which place a low importance
eating, CARICOM’s combined resources can reasonably on animal products (8%) in a healthy diet, relative to crop-
supply a large share of daily healthy food needs. The key food based products. This is ironic since animal products, has
groups are staples (45%), legumes/nuts (22%), vegetables accounted for the largest increase in global food production
(12%) and fruits (9%). However, trade data indicate that extra- and share of global agriculture and food trade in response to
regional imports account for a significant share of available rising demand. There is growing global promotion of fish and
supplies. sea food as the healthiest animal protein. There are ongoing
For CARICOM, ‘availability’ is very closely tied to efforts in CARIOCM to develop the fisheries industry through
trade and any trade disruptions, regardless of how temporary, the CARICOM Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and
are likely to have an immediate impact on the food security. independent investors.
Capacity and investment decisions that tip the scales in favour Considering that the CFNI’s nutritional guidelines
of enhancing domestic production and regional distribution recommend that this group of foods is the least needed
will go far in enhancing food security. From an ‘availability’ and should contribute just about 4% of the daily diet, then
perspective, opportunities exist for viable investments in given current production and consumption of oil-rich fruits,
primary and processed foods. Such investments must, of investment to develop capacity for fats and oils, as part of
necessity, adopt a value-chain approach to enable growth a food and nutrition strategy not be high on the priority list.
and sustained development of the industry beyond the initial However, consumption studies indicate that CARICOM
investment. populations are generally over-fed on these two groups, with
There has been a growth in the number of small direct links to CNCDs. Also ironically, is the fact that while
enterprises engaged in processing of root crops and other sugar and sweeteners constitute a significant part of traditional
staples for local markets. Products include porridge mixes, agriculture production and exports and content of the soft drink
frozen root crops in various speciality cuts (eg. cassava logs, industry, one of the largest food processing industries in the
fries, wedgies, grated). Member states should invest in these region, it is not listed as a food group although consumption
existing enterprises by providing the necessary support to data indicate that consumption is a large part of the CARICOM
strengthen agronomic practices and operations, improve diet.
management skills, undertake product development, enhance In the short-term and given the emerging global
product marketability and strengthen market linkages. Success situation with respect to food security, the priority objective
with such initial investment will lead to greater interest among for resuscitating agriculture’s potential is to produce adequate
would-be entrepreneurs and expand output. supplies of wholesome foods to feed CARICOM’s populations.
The vegetable and fruit food groups are also priority Meeting this objective provides sufficient basis for according
areas for diversification and expansion in CARICOM countries, significant attention in any decision making process to
but geared for export markets. Observations of recent prioritising capacity building and investments to the four critical
increases in offerings of vegetable and fruit offerings in fast- food groups. Such investments will be justifiable from the
food establishments and consumption of same, reflects global nutritional, production capacity and experience, economic and
trends. However, in many instances, these vegetable and fruit national security linked to disaster management standpoints.
are imported. CARICOM countries have a good opportunity to Contrasting the nutritional positioning of these food groups
invest in the production of a basket of key vegetables to satisfy to past and even current efforts at agricultural development
the needs of both the export market, through the tourism strategies and supply capacity of the agriculture and food
and hospitality sector, and local consumers. High among the system in CARICOM would be an interesting exercise.
choices should be green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, carrots,

AgriView Vol. 14, No. 1, 2009 15

In April, IICA, the CTA and the CARICOM Secretariat hosted a regional meeting to discuss implementing a CSME Community
Agriculture Policy (CCAP) that builds on the goals enshrined in Chapter Four, Part Two of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas
and on the Single Development Vision. Policy harmonisation is an integral aspect of the CSME and considered essential for
agricultural development. However, there are divergent and strong views in the region about the impact of a regional policy
for agriculture on spurring agricultural development. Some opinions suggest that given our history of policy failures, a regional
response is neither practical nor even desirable. Others insist that policy harmonisation is a must if the region is to progress
in the CSME. In between these extremes range degrees of uncertainty, nonchalance and indifference. A few of the burning
issues that emerged are summarised.
Issue 1: there are differing views about Prof. Tim Josling: Stanford University
the scope of ‘agriculture’ that will limit On the issue of classification (definition of agriculture), the World Trade
policy effectiveness. Organisation (WTO) is about trade and about classifying goods. The
Agriculture is still viewed as farming and Harmonised System (HS) classification Chapters 1 to 24 (agriculture,
other primary activities, while value-adding, including fisheries) is inclusive, but most national economic agencies
or agri-business, is viewed as food and take a different classification, by type of organisation or activity. I hope
beverage manufacturing, or some other we don’t get hung up on this, where definitional issues define the way
post-farm gate activity, product or service. forward for agriculture or industrial policy.

Issue 2: do import-reliant Dr. Patrick Antoine: Strategic Trade & Policy Advisor
agribusinesses contribute to regional A regional framework for agricultural development should deliberately
development? make no distinction between products manufactured/processed from
Most regional large food and beverage local/regional raw materials and those manufactured/processed from
processors depend heavily on imported non-regional or imported raw materials. There are Member States
materials. They earn profits, provide jobs who have competitive advantage in transforming “raw materials”,
and are successful. But are such industrial wherever sourced, into higher value added processed products,
models really agricultural development while for others, their advantage lies in actual production of such raw materials. A
and, if so, at what social costs? regional approach to agriculture must continue to accommodate both orientations
to create opportunities for regional sourcing and regional production integration.

Issue 3: regional policies and plans Desiree Field-Ridley: CARICOM Secretariat

will not lead to growth The Ex-Prime Minster of Barbados recognized that the region was
Given a 30-year experience of failed taking on a challenge in the absence of political union and a central
regional agriculture policies and strategies government. So the CSME process will proceed as so far as is
and weak governance, it may be more possible, without a central government. With a regional policy and/
effective to prepare national policies and or plan, one expects implementation at the national level. Hence
strategic since there is a government agriculture’s regional plan will be implemented at national level. To
to implement it. There is no ‘regional get a regional result will require one-plus-one to make more than two. In some
government’ areas, whole is greater than sum of parts, that is, benefits of collective action. But
there is need to demonstrate such benefits for agriculture.

Issue 4: growth has to be achieved at Dr. Basil Springer: CBET

the enterprise level, in countries The strategy is to develop a family of successful agripreneurs, “One
The stakeholder profile of agriculture in High Performance Enterprise after Another”, i.e., those with the
CARICOM is dominated by micro and “DNA of an Elephant” in contrast to the “DNA of an Ant (it can start
small firms and fragmented processors small but has the capacity to grow into an export industry). These
and other agri-businesses which present businesses could be existing, start-up and new ideas, each with
additional challenges for the development the capacity to foster agribusiness growth. The plan is to adopt the
of a community policy for agriculture. One Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust (CBET) Shepherding Model™
Basi l S p ring er Ph . D ( C BET)

of their most fundamental challenges are as necessary and sufficient for sustainable business success. The actions are to
CB ET I n c . B a rb a d o s G o v ern m e n t-
Priv at e Se c to r Se ed a n d V e n tu re

securing financing for working capital, provide Quick Response Seed and Venture Capital, i.e., very early stage finance to
Cap ita l P a rtn e rsh ip wa s rol le d o ut in
Bar b a d o s i n N o ve mb e r 1 5 2 008

product innovation etc. an individual or entity with potential for high performance. All types of financing are
being explored with the explicit exception of loans due to the prohibitive collateral

The CARICOM Secretariat, which has the mandate for agricultural policy in CARICOM is currently spearheading the development of a
‘Strategic Plan for Regional Development (SPRD)’, which is a natural follow-on from the Single Development Vision approved by CARICOM
Heads of Government in July 2007. The Single Development Vision has a focus on agriculture, fisheries, forestry and links to tourism, which
reflects the the Revised Treaty. The Strategic Plan will focus on regional public goods. In a regional approach to agriculture determination will
be made as to what are the particular public goods that the region should focus on to foster integration. Some public goods, ie., goods and
services whose benefits are shared in the integration process, are market intelligence and information, R&D, quality assurance and standards
systems, security, financing, transportation, and training and development. ‘Background Papers’ on Caribbean Agro-tourism and Intra-regional
agricultural production and trade policy will inform the plan for agriculture. The CCAP proposal and the outcome of the CCAP meeting will also
provide input into the process.

14 AgriView Vol. 14, No. 1, 2009

The classification issue is embedded in the system of national accounting which ‘values’ the contribution
of economic sectors to the growth of an economy (gross domestic product (GDP)). In national accounts,
the agriculture classification covers only primary production, ‘food and beverage processing’ is
classified as manufacturing or industry, and agri-tourism, classified as ‘services’. Recognising that this
undervalues agriculture’s contribution, IICA embarked on a process to measure the ‘true contribution
of agriculture’. Results from several case studies, including one undertaken in Trinidad showed that
when all the backward and forward linkages are considered, agriculture’s true contribution to GDP
is substantially higher than traditionally measured.

The ‘measurement’ issue is based on the growth of agricultural GDP (AGDP), as is normally
published. It is an important economic indicator used to measure progress in, or the rate of
expansion of agriculture capacity to produce and supply finished products for consumption and
intermediate use. In many cases, ‘real’ AGDP has been used as if it were an indicator of the level of
wellbeing of agricultural families, even though it only represents the amount of net production (discounting all inputs) valued at the prices
of a certain base year. Therefore, because real AGDP is calculated at ‘constant prices’, changes from one year to the next in same way,
only reflect changes in the ‘volume’ of agricultural production and do not take into account changes in relative prices, which often have
a greater impact on agricultural incomes. It is not uncommon in agriculture, for increases in production levels to lead to decreases in the
income of producers, inasmuch as agricultural prices also fall due to over-supply factors. ‘Good’ agricultural performance, from the point
of view of the domestic supply of products, often leads to ‘unhappy farmers’ who see their incomes decline as a result of lower prices.
To consider only the AGDP paints a very limited picture of what is happening in the sector. (Measuring agricultural GDP performance,
a technical note by Julio Paz, Henry Benavides and Joaquin Arias, Policies and Trade, IICA, COMMINIICA Fifth Year, January-April,
2009 ISSN 1992-4933)

Publications to look out for. . . .

Published with financing from the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation
Implementing a CSME Community In A Nutshell Situation and Outlook
Agricultural Policy: Issues, options, process Issue #15, June 2009 for Agriculture Chains
ISBN 978-92-9248-019-6 ISSN-1991-2323 CaRC/TT-02/09 Coming in October

a 21st Century
Model of situation
ourook for

June 2009 2009

This publication discusses the subject of There is need to give thought to the Agriculture’s situation is traditionally
articulating and implementing a CSME indispensable role of agriculture and rural measured by macro-level statistical
Community Agricultural Policy (CCAP). It communities in the building of economies in indicators which report generally poor
includes perspectives on the topic, the base the Americas. Development must proceed performance. This publication uses the
paper prepared as an input to the regional in a manner that ensures human prosperity Agro-matrix framework to promote a modern
policy dialogue process and highlights of the and security in all its dimensions and concept of agriculture, discussed, not as a
main issues that emerged from a regional environmental sustainability. Sustainable sector, or ‘primary agriculture, or traditional
meeting on implementing the CCAP. The development is a central part of the agenda industries, but as a set of ‘chains’ that
purpose of this contribution is not to rewrite for the Fifth Summit of the Americas create and add value. The chain approach
community policy as articulated in the Article and Fifth Agriculture Ministerial, both conceptually and operationally eliminates
56 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, meetings hosted by Caribbean countries the long-standing disconnect between
nor to propose a new policy, strategy or in 2009. Protected markets for agricultural farms and other aspects of the agriculture
initiative in the context of what already exists, products have virtually disappeared and and food industry. The discussion blends
nor is it intended to elaborate a full blown the Caribbean is challenged to find new less used ‘soft’ information (experiences of
CCAP. On the contrary, the CCAP proposal economic pillars on which to build its individuals and institutions) with traditionally
offers a ‘synthesis’ of the critical issues and economies and to achieve the goals of used technical analyses to present a more
options, process and imperatives for policy sustainable development. It describes the ‘balanced’ and optimistic view on the
harmonisation in agriculture at this stage context and elements for what Dr. Cheltson commitments, progress, innovation and
of development in the CSME. It seeks to W.D. Brathwaite Director General of IICA partnerships in developing agriculture in
form an input into the regional dialogue and refers to as ‘a new development model’. CARICOM.

AgriView Vol. 14, No. 1, 2009 15

Not sure where to invest for food security?
Let the Caribbean Food Groups be your guide. Mobilising Financing and Investment: (KBC #1)
I n v e sti ng by Nu tr ition At the moment, only in one or two countries of the Region is
agriculture identified as a priority in their National Indicative
Programs that have been submitted to development agencies,
such as, the European Commission. According to regional
experts, this lack of articulation has prevented agencies
involved in agricultural development in the Region from
accessing monies that were pledged in 2008, subsequent to
the food crisis.

Between 2007 and 2008, two major actions were taken:

1> an Agricultural Donor Conference, held in Trinidad and Tobago
Financing for Projects valued US$440mn was solicited. The response
was initial financial pledges of US $11.6million, with additional funding
from the Government of Spain valued at US $3.9 million has been
sourced for three projects and from FAO. In September, a CARICOM
mission will visit key donors who had expressed interest – EU, IDB,
CIDA and Japan. This would cover about 46 projects at a value of
about US$393mn.
What are these projects?

2> an Investment Forum, held in Guyana, (2008).

Financing for US $50 million was solicited for 25 projects. To date 6
projects have received the green light (total budget of US$5.8 million)
and 12 projects worth US$32m are still being negotiated.
What are these projects?
CFNI specifies 6 Food Groups that, in relative proportions, are Has the money been collected?
important to a healthy daily diet. Investing in food needs and
agricultural development MUST make a critical and radical de- With food security high on the agenda,
parture and be guided by these guidelines. Building capacity in - The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in attempting to in
agriculture and food production MUST be addressed from the the region has made available to Latin America and the Caribbean US
perspective of satisfying the recommended nutritional guidelines $500 million, in support of efforts aimed at ameliorating the impact of
and not from the usual export market-led approach. This shift rising food, fuel and feed prices and ensuring food security.
in perspective is important to help make a determination as to How can countries access these resources?
whether, and how far, the region can substantially meet all of its What are these projects?
recommended food needs from its combined production capac-
ity. Integrating this approach in agricultural development policies - The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), within the
and strategies will enable the region to adopt a ‘preventive’ health framework of the Initiative for Soaring Food Prices (ISFP), has provided
care system rather than bear the burdens of costly long-term cu- the Region with support valued in excess of US $4.2 million.
rative health care. This has direct and long-term implications for What are the priority projects and how were they selected?
how the region’s capacity to supply foods should be developed, How is the project being implemented?
not only in terms of assuring health, but also, in terms of reducing
the wealth ‘leakages’ due to the high dependence on imports to Information on these issues can be obtained by contacting
feed a burgeoning tourism industry. your Ministry of Agriculture.

Editor and Production Coordination: Diana Francis

AgriView is published every trimester by the Inter- Research: Allister Glean
American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). Layout: Kathryn Duncan
It provides a forum for researchers, policy makers and Printing: Orange Printers, Trinidad and Tobago, W.I.
agri-entrepreneurs, including small farmer, to share ideas
and successful experiences that will contribute to the re-
positioning of the agri-food system in the Caribbean to
one that is economically efficient, socially responsible
and environmentally sound. It also provides information
to enhance knowledge critical to agribusiness.

This issue was printed with funding from the Technical

Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

The responsibility for opinions expressed in this publica-

tion and errors and omissions rest solely with the edi-

Any and all contributions and comments are most Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
welcome. Office in Trinidad and Tobago
P.O. Box 1318, Port of Spain
ISSN 1991-2315; CaRC/TT-01/09 #10 Austin Street, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, W.I.
Tel: (868) 645-5020; 4555. Fax: (868) 662-8253; Email:

20 AgriView Vol. 14, No. 2