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Dear All Thank you for participating in the ART.

a c c k k Dear All Thank you for participating in the ART . We

We hope it was informative, enlightening and inspiring for you. We are pleased to provide you with a very brief recap and summary of the key issues raised in the open and free-flowing dialogue. A more detailed version of the ART will be circulated subsequently.

Theme: Breaking Agriculture Out of Tradition of Dependency sought to bring attention to the fact that Caribbean agriculture in 2011, in large part, still resembled the agriculture of the 1960s. This resemblance is evidenced, among others, in terms of:

- structure, still dominated by small, resource constrained farmers, still dominated by primary production,

- development stage, still beset by the same list of challenges that can be found very eloquently described in documents dating back to the 1960s, still heavily dependent on public sector interventions, and still unable to access and sustain presence in new and emerging markets.

Fundamental changes taking place in the international economy and market and within regional

and domestic borders, if forcing Caribbean agriculture out of its comfort zone, and into a new agriculture. This new agriculture recognises the need, among others, to:

- feed the more than 600 million projected population in the Caribbean by 2020,

- preserve the limited and increasingly pressured natural resources base and its adaptation to climate change,

- contribute to the socio-economic well-being of rural areas and poverty alleviation,

- contribute to employment, export earnings and industrial development;

These issues explored through your experiences and frank exchanges in six distinct, yet inter- related segments.

Kudos to ALL of U For keeping the dialogue open, frank and dynamic! Together, the Directors, Actors, Supporting and Behind-the-Scenes Cast delivered an outstanding performance!

Behind-the-Scenes Cast delivered an outstanding performance! Caribbean Regional Agricultural Policy Network (CaRAPN) c/o

Caribbean Regional Agricultural Policy Network (CaRAPN) c/o Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture ~ Office in Trinidad and Tobago Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1318, Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, W.I. #10 Austin Street, St. Augustine, Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. Tel: (868) 645 4555 ~ Email:

AAss SSaaiidd bbyy UU!!

Day 1:

After some brief words of Welcome and Introductions the conversations got off to an animated and provocative start with Julius Gittens, host of Segment 1.

provocative start with Julius Gittens, host of Segment 1. Segment 1: Redesigning vs. Retrofitting Agriculture

Segment 1: Redesigning vs. Retrofitting Agriculture Gittens, a seasoned journalist stimulated the dialogue by admitting that there may not necessarily be ‘anything wrong with tradition and dependency’.

Among the key points to emerge were:

- a validation that some traditions in agriculture are worth saving, especially if they ‘breed’ a culture of self-dependence;

- a recognition that in agriculture, the environment is not always enabling of private sector enterprise, even if government policies tend to ‘say all the right things’, there is almost always an ‘implementation gap or fall-out’;

- an acknowledgement that one producer’s experiences with one particular technology (e.g. hydroponics) in a particular situation (e.g., farming below sea level) will not necessarily be the same for another in different situations;

- governmental and institutional weaknesses and deficiencies that hamper agricultural development are among the main candidates for a redesign.

- notwithstanding the state and strength of government policy and support, agriculture entrepreneurs need to position themselves to identify, recognize and respond to market signals as an essential critical success factor for business.

The terms redesign and retrofit are generally applied to manufacturing with retrofit’ usually being the first and most economical option. Both recognize some level of deficiency in an operating system but retrofitting suggests that only part of the system is deficient and would require only a very specific adjustment in that one area. Redesign suggests that the system itself is not up to scratch and requires a new design of its operation. Considering these differences, participants concluded that:

- better infrastructure (soft and hard) is needed in some critical areas, including intra-regional trade facilitation, SPS, market access;

- planning systems tend to be ad-hoc at the national level and so integrated planning, monitoring and evaluation systems should be developed to guide efficacy of future planning;

- linkages originating from the farm are the way forward and so greater facilitation and coordination at that level is needed;

With Guests involved in beverage manufacturing using local fruits, shade house and hydroponic vegetable production, cattle ranching, grain, citrus farming and meat processing and open-field fruit and vegetable production, the topics on the table were as diverse as the experiences that fed them. Segment I Guests were:

Allison Plummer, a St. Lucian professional, entrepreneur and local supplier of local fruit beverages.

Keeley Holder, a Barbadian Scientist, professional and agricultural entrepreneur involved in food and beverage preparation and production of fresh fruits and vegetables

Abdalah Bedan, a successful Belizean businessman with over twenty eight years of experience in the agriculture, cattle and meat processing industries

Fitzroy Valentine, a Guyanese agriculturalist with substantial experience in shade-house and hydroponic vegetable production.


ART - ‘Breaking Agriculture out of Tradition and Dependency - Saint Lucia, July 2011

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Segment 2: Growing Green and Clean the new basics Steven van Frederikslust, radio host from Suriname continued the dialogue on the very topical and globally discussed issue relating to environmental responsibility in agriculture

Among the main messages to emerge included the need to:

Among the main messages to emerge included the need to: - appreciate that several ‘green’ practices

- appreciate that several ‘green’ practices in farming and food preparations are rooted in long-standing and familiar traditions.

- recognize that the environmental imperatives offer a new and wide field for private sector investment in farming and all aspects of agribusiness.

- understand that although important, green technologies by themselves, may not be able to feasibly meet all agriculture’s needs (given current technology), but they can definitely help to solve several.

- strengthen coordination and coherence of sector policies impacting on natural resource use to encourage the adoption of greener technologies.

- recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach to introducing and making green technologies work for agriculture or other sectors should be avoided. Implementers must look for what works best and the extent to which they meet the needs in each specific situation.

- explore the new and emerging opportunities for adopting renewable energy in improving farm operations (e.g. water pumps, protected agriculture equipment, farm power supply, storage facilities, refrigerated trucks).

Guests in this segment are champions for good practices and environmental sustainability, and are involved in areas relating to forestry management, water management, climate change adaptation and organic or ‘green’ agriculture. They were:

Steve Maximay, a Trinidad and Tobago national, Managing Director of a regional consulting firm Science Based Initiatives, which has been in the forefront of informing regional response plans to climate change;

Christopher Cox, a St. Lucian professional, wildlife artist and current Programme Director for the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI).

Lennox Lampkin, a national of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is a trained ICT Manager and Network Engineer, Chairman and CEO of SV Chamber of Agriculture and Nutrition, a ‘green’ farmer and advocate for sustainable agriculture.

Karl Augustine, a Dominican by birth, is a Cuban trained Forest Engineer with the St. Lucia Department of Forestry responsible for managing the Dennery Forest Range

Segment 3: High Food Prices An occasional spike or the new reality IICA (Diana Francis) and CARDI (Dr. Arlington Chesney) took the opportunity to reference the Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy (RFNSP) as the region’s response to rising food prices and the associated hardships on the poor and vulnerable.

and the associated hardships on the poor and vulnerable. This topic is one of continuing dialogue

This topic is one of continuing dialogue in the region as food import dependency has grown steadily over time. Although the region has access to a large biodiversity, crops for food are limited to a relatively narrow range, most of which are grown, processed and marketed through developed country industries and by developed country standards.

The discussions covered several aspects of the high food-price issue. But a definite focus was on the types of policy interventions needed to drive and sustain food production and develop a culture and economy that supports proper nutrition. Among the main issues included the need:


ART - ‘Breaking Agriculture out of Tradition and Dependency - Saint Lucia, July 2011

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- for dynamic and integrated policies that recognise the inter-play within and among the four components of food and nutrition security.

- for policy emphasis on ‘nutrition’ and for governments to make more meaningful use of food procurement programmes to enhance local purchasing and influence consumption of local foods.

- to improve the coordination and synergy between food production and utilization mechanisms in the local food supply/distribution system.

Participants were urged to obtain and review the RFNSP, available from the CARICOM Secretariat, and to continue to engage in the national and regional dialogue and actions aimed at strengthening household food and nutrition security.

Day 2:

strengthening household food and nutrition security. Day 2: Segment 4: Succession Planning – the ageing of

Segment 4: Succession Planning the ageing of Agri-institutions The young and dynamic journalist, Damion Mitchell deftly manoeuvred through some heated and sensitive exchanges about the situation in our agri- institutions. How much of the apparent institutional malaise reflects or actually feeds the situation in agriculture remains an open- ended question.

Elements that may provide part or all of the answers to this question were explored, with a focus on pin-pointing and removing factors/conditions that foster:

- institutional rigidities and resistance to change in several of these institutions, which has inhibited performance, effectiveness and relevance in leading and facilitating agricultural development.

- lack of stability within the institutional hierarchy, including prolonged and incomplete processes for policy formulation and insufficient influence over decision-making.

- ageing of institutions such as lack of succession planning and transparent performance and results based systems, including ensuring that agri-institutions are provided with adequate and sufficiently skilled human resources including provision of mentoring and professional development of junior staff to hold managerial positions.

- ineffective inter-institutional partnerships, such as lack of clear protocols and mechanisms for engaging partner organisations (e.g. universities).

Guests in this segment are all advocates and champions of good practices and environmental sustainability, involved in areas relating to forestry management, water management, climate change adaptation and organic or ‘green’ agriculture. They were:

Zane Sharon Peters, an Antiguan and Barbudan and current Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment and a strong advocate of institutional development, increased accountability, efficiency and human resource development.

Jeffrey Trotman, a Guyanese with over 30 years experience in print, radio and television in the Caribbean and volunteer as a Communications Consultant and Public Relations Officer with the Caribbean Farmers Network (CAFAN) in promoting agricultural issues in the mass media.

Gregg Rawlins, a Barbadian national, currently the IICA Country Representative in Trinidad and Tobago with experience in economic analysis, policy formulation, external trade and economic negotiations, project management and planning.


ART - ‘Breaking Agriculture out of Tradition and Dependency - Saint Lucia, July 2011

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Segment 5: Making the healthy choice: bridging the producer-consumer disconnect This topic is closely tied into the food and nutrition security debate. Nicole Best expertly weaved the critical issues related to making the healthy choice with the interventions from guest panellists and experiences of all present.

from guest panellists and experiences of all present. These issues included recognition: - of the strong

These issues included recognition:

- of the strong direct link between food choices and non-communicable diseases and the need to promote and facilitate healthy eating habits.

- that the production and marketing of Caribbean branded foods- fresh, processed and convenience foods- local farm produce are increasing, but somewhat slowly.

- that with falling disposable incomes, consumers turn increasingly to the more readily available convenience foods often used as a stand-alone meal despite the questionable nutritional benefits of most of these products;

- of the importance of ensuring healthy choices among children and the significant yet under- utilized potential of school feeding programmes as an important avenue through which healthy food choices can be nurtured.

- that backyard gardening and small scale food production are important self-reliance based actions that households can take towards a healthy consumption lifestyle with additional positive benefits on food safety and environmental health.

The main messages out of this segment were the need for countries in the region to:

- develop/update and implement nutritional guidelines and make more effective use of local avenues for improving nutrition while simultaneously supporting agriculture, such as, in schools, hospital and prison-feeding programmes;

- continuously and consistently promote healthy eating, using credible Caribbean personalities and institutions, specifically targeted at households and particularly the youth, and to

- engage and involve larger organisations within the food service sector in supporting initiatives aimed at making more healthy food choices.

Guests in this segment who all have first hand involvement in actions promoting and facilitating the objective of making healthy choices, were:

Allister Glean, a Trinidad and Tobago national with training and working experience agribusiness management and marketing, international relations and law, works with the TT AgriBusiness Association which seeks to produce and supply the local and regional markets with healthy local based food products.

Lisa Hunt, a St. Lucian national and trained Dietician joined the Ministry of Health, Wellness, Family Affairs, National Mobilisation and Gender Relations in January 2011, as the Chief Nutritionist.

Dunstan Demille, a, St. Lucian national, is a Certified Trainer Produce management and Customer Service, and from 2004, is the Perishables Manager, Responsible for produce department Warehouse for Consolidated Foods, supporter of Phase II of the local HOOPSS project.


ART - ‘Breaking Agriculture out of Tradition and Dependency - Saint Lucia, July 2011

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A A s s S S a a i i d d b b y y

Segment 6: Leveraging Trade and Economic Agreements to support Innovation, transformation and food security In the final Segment of the ART, Diana Francis engaged the panel in a discussion that essentially sought to clarify whether trade negotiation and their resulting agreements offered Caribbean agriculture any net benefits.

This issue is always a hot topic and one of continuing interest to policy makers, producers, development organisations and journalists, alike. Among the main points to emerge from discussion included:

- an admission that the average small business owner/farmer does not have a clear idea of the content in and benefits of trade agreements generally and specifically to the small enterprise sector.

- a reiteration that more focus needs to be placed on empowering stakeholders to understand and capitalize on opportunities.

- an appeal for greater involvement of Ministries of Agriculture in supporting the Office of Trade Negotiations with adequate preparations at all levels, to ensure that interests are well understood and properly represented.

- a suggestion for Ministries of Agriculture and Trade to explore and utilize the Extension methodology to transferinformation and enhance small producersknowledge and understanding of trade related issues.

- a reminder that agreements themselves do not create trade and are only as good as the extent to which they are utilized.

- the need for continuous, open and honestcommunication about trade negotiations, trade agreements and the role of government in enabling the private sector to take full advantage of opportunities negotiated on their behalf.

Guests in this segment were:

Vincent Atkins, a St. Lucian national and currently the Trade Policy/Technical Advisor to CARICOM Less Developed Countries (LDCs) in the Office of Trade Negotiation (OTN) of the CARICOM Secretariat.

Neil Paul, another St. Lucian national, trained in Extension methodology, experienced in Agriculture, Food Security and Trade Policy and currently, the Manager of the Research and Development department and Coordinator of the Master’s Programme in International Trade Policy at the Shridath Ramphal Centre, UWI, Cave Hill.

Day 3 Field Trip: "we do not remember days

we remember moments'.

Venue 1: Gros Islet & Fond Assau To visit the cassava farm and small scale processing facility the of 50 year old Rogence Louis and contrast his private initiative with the Government Fond Assau Agro Processing Facility, which converted an abandoned banana boxing plant to enhance agro-processing activities on the island.

Your Feedback was very mixed. At one end, there was an appreciation for the perseverance and incremental successes achieved by the 50-year old farmer, who showed a willingness to adapt and accept innovation for business development. At the other extreme there were some strong concerns voiced with respect to the appropriateness of the facilities for small scale processing. The exposure to the Government facility generated more questions than answers with respect to the process of formulating and implementing Government policy in agriculture.


ART - ‘Breaking Agriculture out of Tradition and Dependency - Saint Lucia, July 2011

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Venue 2: Gros Islet- Government School and Donnator Special Needs School, Castries To visit two schools involved in the project HOOPSSHelping Out Our Primary and Secondary Schools, a project spawned by the St. Lucia Agricultural Forum for Youth (SLAFY) and supported by IICA St.Lucia, the Travel Foundation (Phase I) and the Consolidated Food Ltd (Phase II). The HOOPSS project is rapidly emerging as a very successful youth in agriculture engagement strategy for regularsecondary schools and schools with special needs, such

as the Donnator Special Needs School.

Your Feedback was generally very positive, recognizing that while there are challenges in the education system in general, that would also affect the effectiveness and sustainability of projects, the HOOPSS project in particular offers numerous socio-economic and other benefits for youth in schools. There was a general consensus that initiatives such as these need to be promoted, supported and institutionalized in the school system and through programmes that provide school- leaving youth the opportunities to continue their agriculture training and interests as a form of self-employment and income-earning.

Venue 3: Marigot Government School and Union Agriculture Facility To visit contrasting aquaculture development at the small-scale level in the Marigot School, as part of the new introduction of aquaculture in the HOOPSS project, and a commercial aquaculture operation in the Government Union Agriculture Facility.

Your Feedback was also fairly positive, revalidating the importance of projects such as the HOOPSS, and appreciating the importance of a fairly well organized and run Government facility that is capable of satisfying private sector demand for a range of horticultural plants and tilapia fingerlings.

On Behalf of the CaRAPN team,,  YOU, the participants, who openly shared your opinions
On Behalf of the CaRAPN team,,
 YOU, the participants, who openly shared your opinions and experiences;
 Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation for fully enabling the ART;
 the ACM and CARDI for partnering with us to host the ART;
 panel Guests, moderators and field trip facilitators, who unreservedly embraced the responsibility to
 management and staff of the Bay Gardens Hotel for their hospitality;
 IICA St. Lucia for going beyond the call of duty and institutional responsibility that enabled us to
plan such an event long-distance;
 IICA Trinidad and Brent, my ever-ready assistant, for putting up with my insistence for preparation,
quality, thoroughness, attention to detail.
It was a rewarding personal and professional experience for us. And we look forward to continuing
old relationships, new partnerships and the many good things that we will accomplish together in the
development journey. Thank you for all your patience, understanding, support, encouragement, best
wishes, advice and strength. Please continue to champion agriculture. If we don’t, then who will?


ART - ‘Breaking Agriculture out of Tradition and Dependency - Saint Lucia, July 2011