GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Secretary-general of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Irwin LaRocque has welcomed an 8.6 million euro programme to boost the region’s agriculture sector.
In his capacity as secretary-general of the Caribbean Forum of African Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM), LaRocque was one of four speakers at a signing ceremony of a contribution agreement on the 10th EDF Intra-ACP agriculture policy programme for the Caribbean between the European Commission and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) at the European Union delegate’s office in Georgetown, Guyana.
Donald Ramotar, president of Guyana, who is lead head of government for agriculture in the quasi-cabinet of CARICOM, topped the list of speakers, which also included the delegate of the European Union (EU) to Guyana, Robert Kopecky, and the co-ordinator of IICA’s regional integration for the Caribbean region, Gregg Rawlins.
IICA is the principal implementing agency of the programme on behalf of CARIFORUM, with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the CARICOM Secretariat as implementing partners. Such an arrangement exemplified the strength of the partnership between IICA and the CARICOM/CARIFORUM Secretariat and reflected the continued commitment of the EU to the ongoing development of the region, the secretary-general said.
The four-year programme is specifically planned to further strengthen policy regimes and incentive schemes for agricultural smallholders across the region who form the bulk of producers. It would also improve food security by increasing production and productivity of selected commercially and nutritionally valuable agricultural produce. 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.
The design of the programme followed intensive consultations among stakeholders in the sector across the Region and also benefitted from a number of policy instruments including CARICOM’s Liliendaal Declaration and the Jagdeo Initiative on the nine key binding constraints to agricultural development in the region.