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EU funds to boost Caribbean agriculture
GEORGETOWN—The European Union is providing Euro 8.6 million (One Euro =US$1.30 cents) to boost agriculture in the Caribbean. The funds are being provided under the tenth European Development Fund (EDF) Intra-African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Agriculture Policy Programme for the Caribbean between the European Commission and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
The agreement was signed by Guyana President Donald Ramotar, who has lead responsibility for agriculture within the quasi-Caribbean Community (Caricom) cabinet, the Delegate of the European Union (EU) to Guyana, Ambassador Robert Kopecky, Co-ordinator of IICA’s Regional Integration for the Caribbean Region, Gregg Rawlins and Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque.
IICA is the principal implementing agency of the programme on behalf of the Caribbean Forum (Cariforum), with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Cardi) and the Caricom Secretariat as implementing partners. LaRocque said the implementation of the programme “comes at a time of significant challenges for the Caribbean in general, and the 16 states of Cariforum in particular.
“It is a time when our states have no choice but to improve their competitiveness, with a view to achieving greater economic viability and sustainability. That competitiveness would put us in good stead as we seek to take advantage of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union.”
He said the essence of the programme’s interventions is informed by the results of a series of consultations with the key players in the agricultural sector in Cariforum including the Caribbean Farmers Network (CAFAN); the Caribbean Network of Rural Women Producers (CANROP); Caribbean Agriculture Business Association (CABA) and the Caribbean Forum for Youth in Agriculture (CAFY).
The four year programme is specifically planned to further strengthen policy regimes and incentive schemes for agricultural smallholders across the region that form the bulk of producers. It would also improve food security by increasing production and productivity of selected commercially and nutritionally valuable agricultural produce.
A Caricom Secretariat statement said in the execution of the programme, there is a specific bias to women and youth as these groups have been identified as important to the sustainability of the sector.
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