CARICOM blamed for the state of the agriculture sector in the region


Hilston Baptiste, Antigua and Barbuda’s Agriculture Minister, has blasted regional governments for what he says is the failure of the Caribbean to move forward in the area of agriculture.

Hilston Baptiste, Antigua and Barbuda’s Agriculture Minister, has blasted regional governments for what he says is the failure of the Caribbean to move forward in the area of agriculture.

Baptiste, who is attending the Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas in San Jose, Costa Rica, says the lack of co-operation across the region could eventually lead to the demise of the already fragile agriculture industry.


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  1. Ag Researcher
    October 24, 2011

    I suggest that we consider the following with regard to Agriculture Research and its Role in Small Island Developing States like the OECS/CARICOM before we say that too much research has been conducted!!!!

    Agricultural research and technological improvements are and will continue to be prerequisites for increasing agricultural productivity and generating income for farmers and the rural work force. This in turn will help to alleviate poverty, which is primarily a rural phenomenon, but which also afflicts the urban poor. Given that economic growth is the best antidote to poverty, and that few countries have achieved economic growth without agricultural growth, it follows that agriculture, a principal sector in most developing countries, can contribute significantly to growth and development and should be accorded a high priority.

    During the last decade, however, investments in agriculture, at both the national and international levels, have declined. There is an urgent need to reverse this trend, which, if left unchecked, can threaten global food security. Industrial countries have benefitted from agricultural research and development (R&D) investments in both the public and private sectors, but developing countries have by and large relied on public sector support from national programs and from international organizations.

    In the future it is imperative that developing countries invest significantly more public sector funding in agricultural R&D and also encourage the indigenous and international private sectors to participate in activities where they have comparative advantages. To meet the challenge of global food security requires new partnerships in agricultural R&D between the public and private sectors that optimize the comparative advantages of each in pursuit of mutual objectives. Forging these new public-private sector partnerships would promote the most effective use of limited global resources for the development of sustainable agricultural systems. In the last decade governments in industrial countries have encouraged increased participation by the private sector in agricultural R&D, a trend that is being mirrored in many developing countries.

    Strategic Agenda for Agricultural Research that we in CARICOM should be considering include but not limited to the following:

    • Role of Agricultural Research and Field Experimentation in mitigation of Climate Change.
    • Role of Agricultural Research and Field Experimentation in enhancing Agricultural Innovation
    • Role of Agricultural Research and Field Experimentation and the partnerships between public and private sector
    • Role of Agricultural Research and Field Experimentation in developing farmer and extension training programmes.
    • Role of Agricultural Research in technology transfer and adoption.

  2. Anonymous
    October 22, 2011

    hes right CARICOM nations were duped into chasing tourism dollars instead of agriculture. dont they know thats what they west will do. make your region the go to destination and tell you to build this build that sell your beaches and prime relestate to western business owners forget about agriculture go into debt importing stuff that you once could grow at home just to become depended on the west. LOOK AT AFRICA. famine after famine because they can no longer provide for itself. i pray CARICOM wake up and make a change before its tooooooo late

    October 22, 2011

    I’ll tell you what happened…..We’ve been bushwhacked!..we’ve been bamboozled!.We’ve been sideswiped!….By none other than…yep..You guessed right….Dole/Chiquita..and the rest…..And now,We are being side-stepped by our own Govt….almost forgotten…on the brink of oblivion…

    Let me tell you,somebody ought to be horsewhipped for what is happening to the Farmers in Dominica today…It is not even funny…Where is the Minister of Agriculture in all this mess and neglect?….

    We must never,and should never turn our backs on agriculture here in Dominica.We need it more now than ever….
    It is a shame how we are losing our staple, and how our Farmers are being neglected and treated…..The Govt. need to do much more…..We need a different approach….We need to diversify…
    We need feeder roads as well…..

    Well,maybe the strap for cash….I don’t know.
    But what I do know,is that something needs to be done,to get back to where we once were,or better…..And I am not talking about bananas either…I am talking about a wider variety of crops…along with Marketing,Processing and Packaging..

    And I’ll tell you something…The Minister is right.. He’s dead-on….Also,I will tell you another thing that may surprise you…Antigua is way ahead of Dominica when it comes to agriculture today…Can you believe that?..I am serious…no joke!…And that, in my book, is a bloody shame….No offense or disrespect to the people of Antigua..They’ve made great strides…You want to know why……The Minister cares, and his Govt. invested heavily in Agriculture,and it is paying off today,or it has paid off,rather……

    While our Farmers are crying every Tuesday morning on a certain Radio program…go figure……We need to think dispassionately about issues that confronts us.

    Let me tell you,.. there is an ineptitude in the way this Government has gone about conducted the Peoples business…You cannot claim to be Sovereign while you are looking to someone else for your subsistence…No way.
    We need to start producing the means of our subsistence…..Borrowing money and Taxation are a recipe for disaster and poverty.It can’t work!…
    “How men organize to produce the means of their subsistence constitute the fundamental relations of society”

    Boy,it seems as if we are in a colossal mess,and I’m wondering how are we going to extricate ourselves from this.

    We need to be more committed to the People and serve their interest…

    Thank you very much….And all the best to you……


      October 22, 2011

      That,was in reply to..”Anonymous”…

  4. Anonymous
    October 22, 2011

    That is right Mr. Baptiste. In an age where food security is being blasted it is amazing that we are not being more proactive where food production is concerned in the region- Dominica especially.

  5. Prophet2
    October 22, 2011

    CARICOM/CARICRAP only works for the big states, they call us Small Islanders, they left us high and dry (to die) after they broke the West Indian Federation, UWI has only benefited the host countries, there are so many obstacles in place and I don’t give a crap anymore.

    Long live the little ones/OECS, we have survived so far.

  6. Country man
    October 22, 2011

    This is soo true – we hire experts to hire experts to research what has already been researched and nothing gets done until the next round of research.

  7. Anonymous
    October 22, 2011

    I’m not that old but i remember back in the days when the Geest boat used to dock out at the National Port stocking up on various produce cultivated right here on our lands (PRIMARILY BANANAS). From what i understood at that time, the banana’s harvested in Dominica were shipped to different countries as far as England and sometimes even South America who already has a great supply of these fruits. I also understood that we supplied the ‘Chiquita’ banana company known for distributing some of the worlds finest bananas across the globe…ours being amongst the best. Up to this day i’m still trying to figure out what happened. As far as i’m concerned, we are the Nature Island of the World. Anything planted in our soil will grow and be amongst the most fruitful. Farmers no longer have the support that they used to have…that’s what it looks like; maybe that’s what it is. I’m just saying that with this much land and the monies that are being spent to improve “infrastructure” can be well spent on the Agricultural Sector within government as well. We have to remember that the same canned peas and beans we buy at Astaphans and Witchurch were once part of a plant and had to be harvested by FARMERS before they were packaged and given a ridiculous price stamp. We need to take it into consideration that we have great farmers here and that if the extra effort to invest in these farmers and export our local produce, it is possible to gain proper revenue in exporting goods as a nation instead of having to spend so much on having imported items brought into the country where we pay more than %50 the unit price per item at our local stores. Maybe if we had our own factories and our own production facilities, we would be exporting these same goods at a large scale, but millions are being spent otherwise. CARICOM should definitely step in and impose some form of PRICE CONTROL act throughout its member states to further ensure how the dollar is spent on these produce items as well as the revenue earned. That way farmers as well as the country on a whole will be able to reap the proper benefits of the work being put in. Lets turn things around and make it how it used to be….if we work together and all share a common voice there will be change. We just need to change ourselves as a people (primarily our mentality) in order for this change to be effective.

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