An Agriculture Policy Programme (APP), seeking to enhance capabilities of agriculture in eradicating poverty in CARIFORUM countries, got underway in Dominica on Monday
The APP is funded under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) between the European Commission (EC) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (ICCA), with partners Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the CARICOM Secretariat.
The ultimate aim is to ensure that small producers/ entrepreneurs, including women and youth are more effectively integrated into national, regional and international markets.
Specialist of IICA Dominica, Kent Coipel who was addressing the national kick off event, at held at the Fort Young Hotel on Monday, said the time frame estimated for the policy is about 45 months and the budget is 8.6-million Euros.
He mentioned, the overall objective is, “To contribute and enhance regional, both in the Caribbean and the pacific and inter-regional capabilities of the Agricultural sectors in eradicating poverty.”
He noted further that, the specific objectives is to increase the capabilities of the regional Agricultural Development Organizations of the Caribbean and Pacific regions to address the development needs of small holders in agriculture.
“And we see the ultimate goal to promote the development of small holders, both micro and small medium term enterprises through integration to local, national, regional and global markets,” he said.
According to him, there are some common challenges at all levels and the agriculture production in the Caribbean and Pacific countries faces similar challenges which includes, “issues of climate change, natural disasters, high food prices, small internal markets and resilience on a few export commodities…”
He noted that there are three major components of the APP.
“Policy and Strategy, which will be led by CARICOM, and its focus is on the action that supports an enabling efficient national coordinating regional policy environment” he explained. “Applied research, which is led by CARDI, focuses on building human capacity, improving stock of genetic material and transforming to climate smart agricultural systems, and Enterprise Development led by ICCA, focus on building capacities, instigating networking, enabling effective engagement with markets and supporting creation of enabling environment for small producers and entrepreneurs.”
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Harold Guiste who represented agriculture minister, Matthew Walter, said over the years CARDI and ICCA have provided valuable support to the farmers of Dominica and to the Minister of Agriculture.
According to Guiste, the agriculture ministry has found tremendous relevance in all of the interventions made by ICCA at various times.