Information Today for Agriculture Tomorrow

Trimesterly Newsletter January -April

Vol.10, No. 1, 2004

AgriView Newsletter
The AgriView Newsletter will now be published trimesterly by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to provide information on, and to enhance knowledge critical to agribusiness. It also provides a forum for researchers, policy makers and agri-entrepreneurs, including small farmers, to share ideas and successful experiences that will contribute to the repositioning of the Caribbean agri-food system to one that is economically efficient, socially responsible and environmentally sound. Policy has become the ‘silent’ partner in agricultural development. Experiences with the widening gap between the high promises of science and technology in ACP agriculture and the disappointing reality on farms have led to a consensus on policy being the key constraint facing ACP agriculture. Focusing on policy is an attempt to bring urgent attention to the fact that we in the Caribbean, inspite a long history of policy making for agriculture, appear to be repeating mistakes of the past. The international environment is one which places a high penalty on mistakes; agriculture can no longer afford to repeat its mistakes. Caribbean Agriculture must be brought into the 21st Century, quickly, starting with feasible and effective policies. This process can be expeditiously facilitated through networking, the tool of choice in the 21st Century. Lessons learnt draw from the experience of the CTA’s interventions in regional agricultural policy networking in African regions.

Agricultural Policy Still Matters
Diana Francis1

Focus on Policy: better late than never
How did Caribbean agriculture develop over the last twenty years? Were the development projects and actions based on well-defined and enabling policies that fit the context of the particular time? Not surprisingly, getting consensus to these questions is as difficult as getting consensus in the current agricultural trade negotiations. While government officials can point to a number of policy goals for agriculture at both the national and regional levels, the private sector may see things differently. In fact, many non-governmental persons have pointedly questioned the process of policy formulation

Going organic : policy driven or ‘jump-on-the-bandwagon’ response

Agricultural Policy Still Matters 1 Repositioning Agriculture in the Americas 3 Information and Communication Technologies in Agricultural Policy Networking 3 ICTs, Agricultural Policy Networking and the CTA 4 The Policy Process 5 The Regional Agricultural Policy Network in the Caribbean 6 Agricultural Networking in the Caribbean 7 Private Sector Supports the RAPN 7 Policy Perspective 7 Regional Agricultural Policy Networks: 8 Take Note 9 What’s Happening in the Negotiations 9 Taking ‘Old’ Agriculture into ‘New’ Frontiers: 10 Changing Youth perceptions on Agriculture 11 Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2004 12

and implicitly, the effectiveness of past and current policies for making a real difference in agriculture. One may surmise that for the longest time, the business of agriculture in most Caribbean countries seemed to be stuck in ‘neutral’. In fact, many reports generally describe agriculture’s performance as ‘stagnant’, or ‘no-change in growth over the previous period’, with trade liberalization blamed as the main culprit. One could also argue that if it was known then, that agricultural trade liberalization would be inevitable, and that its short-to-medium term effects would be generally negative, why were the appropriate mix of policies not put in place to enable agriculture stakeholders to respond? This is a common question to which, answers rarely seem to satisfy. Kirton & Bailey (2002)2 note that generally, developing country policymakers are expected to have a clear commitment to the
Diana Francis is a Consultant responsible for in IICA’s Regional Policy and Trade Program for the Caribbean 2 “Establishment and Development of a Regional Agricultural Policy Network in the Caribbean”,(December 2002) Claremont Kirton and Arlene Bailey, Faculty of Social Sciences, UWI-Mona, Jamaica.














2 agricultural sector. However, experience indicates that in most of these countries, governments followed by the international community, have shifted away from agriculture. Since the 1970s, many developing country governments have significantly reduced expenditures on agriculture. Leading international donor agencies to also reduce their assistance to agriculture. This in part explains the situation of agriculture today. Did these actions result from clear policy directives to reduce the focus on agriculture in favour of sectors - industry and tourism perhaps? Or were they simply the correct and automatic response to the policy doctrines which reflected the dynamics of the global economy at that particular time/period? Can any of us provide satisfactory answers to these pertinent questions?

AgriView Focus on Policy cont’d initially establishing close working relationships with the producers at the country level is a recipe for failure. Also the failure to explicitly recognize that producers’ decisions are conditioned by their perceptions of the policy environment, which is determined by individual national governments, could lead to policy disaster.

The Policy Context
The context for agriculture has changed since the early 1980s, and has been evolving ever since. History suggests a 30-year cycle of policy doctrine changes in the past. The experiences in world agricultural markets over the last 25 years largely explains the emphasis on market-led growth and the benefits of open market competition; hence the push towards agricultural trade liberalization in all sectors and spheres of economic activity. The rapid pace of globalisation and resulting changes in the international environment, have forced small developing states to confront critical decisions about their policy orientation as they attempt to minimize the associated negative costs and maximize the beneficial consequences of these developments. In general, policy options facing small developing states are conditioned by their natural, human and financial resource limitations, historical experiences and various bi-lateral and multi-lateral commitments. Regional policy makers repeatedly emphasize that domestic agriculture is largely responsive to external stimuli. As policy makers, we have no alternative but to operate within our best guesses and our most accurate judgments about how the world works today. The changing context for agriculture thus begs the question of whether or not, in the scheme of things, our range of policy options are already pre-set by the external context within which agriculture functions.

Policy History in Caribbean agriculture
It would seem then, that developing policy in itself cannot be the end product. According to Kirton & Bailey (2002), policy, simply defined, is a statement of intent, a prescription of what needs to be done to achieve a particular purpose and goal. It implies that the anticipated output would not have materialized without the specific policy being implemented. However, having well defined policies, will not, on their own, lead to any change in the situation for agriculture. Policy is a means to an end, and for policy to be effective, the appropriate actions must be taken. In tracing its evolution, Kirton and Bailey (2002) noted that historically, colonial relationships shaped agricultural policy in the Caribbean. The British directed policy in the British colonies, as did the French, Dutch and Spanish in their respective colonies. Following political independence, the former colonies established their respective government Ministries of Agriculture that had responsibility for agricultural policy preparation and implementation. In 1975, following the formation of CARICOM in 1973, the former British colonies in the Caribbean developed the first regional agricultural policy - the Regional Food Plan (RFP). Its main goal was to increase domestic food production as a means of reducing CARICOM’s dependence on foreign food sources, especially for animal and fish products, cereal and grain legumes. Among the explanations for this policy failure were a lack of commitment by CARICOM Member states, and a shortage of the required expertise to ensure successful implementation. In 1983, the Regional Food and Nutrition Strategy (RFNS), replaced the RFP as the guiding policy for agriculture in the Caribbean. This policy also met with limited success owing to similar constraints. In 1989, the Caribbean Community Programme for Agricultural Development (CCPAD) and an associated Regional Action Plan replaced the RFNS. By the early 1990s, it was evident that CCPAD too, would follow its predecessors, and in 1996 its was redesigned into the Regional Transformation Programme for Agriculture (RTP), which currently oversees development and implementation of regional agricultural policy. The above clearly proves our long learning experience of policy making in agriculture, particularly at the regional level. These policy failures were deemed to result from their inherent weakness of process, and ultimately relevance. Attempting to influence the levels of agricultural output in CARICOM countries without
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Focus on Policy - more important than ever!
Ensuring productivity and growth in primary agriculture is an essential pre-requisite for effectively sustaining the social, economic and political stability of Caribbean economies. Despite its declining relative contribution to gross domestic production, primary agriculture remains a critical contributor growth in food and beverage processing industries, employment generation, foreign exchange earnings, income distribution, food security and social equity and stability. As agriculture becomes more integrated into the complex legal and regulatory international system, domestic and regional agriculture policy must adapt in order to enable effective participation. This adaptation must therefore, focus on transforming the policy framework (institutional and regulatory) to create an environment conducive to agriculture’s repositioning. Without policy change and strong policy, agricultural repositioning will remain a non-starter. Without providing the requisite resources (skilled personnel, adequate and well targeted financing for infrastructural, institutional and entrepreneurial development), sustainable agricultural development, which is competitive, equitable and environmentally-friendly, will be an elusive goal. And in this context, the focus on policy, through successful regional co-operation, assumes even greater urgency.



Repositioning Agriculture in the Americas
Agriculture of the Americas in the 21st Century is challenged to be competitive and to produce value-added products that conform to food safety and agricultural health standards demanded by the market and consumers. Agriculture must also provide the base for rural prosperity in order to stem the migration of the rural poor to our cities. The key factors driving the new agriculture will be globalization and market liberalization, new technologies and consumer preferences. So said the IICA Director General when he addressed Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas at their 2nd Ministerial Meeting in Panama, in November 2003. Back in November 2001 at their First Ministerial Meeting in Bavaro, Dominican Republic, Ministers of Agriculture had already recognized that agriculture and rural life was at a turning point, and issued the Declaration of Bavaro for the Improvement of Agriculture and Rural Life in the Americas. The “Agro 2003-2015” Plan of Action, adopted at the 2nd Ministerial Forum, emphasizes four main dimensions of agriculture that require strong policy and concerted action to facilitate continuous repositioning and to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)1. • Production-trade dimension; • Ecological- environmental dimension; • Socio-cultural and human dimension; • Political-institutional dimension. The DG cautioned that success in repositioning our agriculture and in developing the full potential of the rural sector “will depend in large measure on leaders who can promote change and harness the vast potential of the countries by helping to remove the anti-rural bias in development policy”. Achieving the MDGs particularly that of reducing poverty by 50% in 2015 is a responsibility shared by us all. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) commit the international community to an expanded vision of development that vigorously promotes human development as key to sustaining social and economic progress in all countries and recognizes the importance of creating a global partnership for development. Details can be obtained from the World Bank Website www.worldbank.org

The State of Rural Life in the Caribbean


The total Caribbean2 population is estimated at 22 million, ranging from a high of 9 million in the Dominican Republic to a low of 42,000 in St. Kitts and Nevis. Out of this total population, the rural population is slightly less than half (10.7 million), with Haiti having the highest number of rural people (5 million). The importance of agriculture in these countries is more evident for Haiti, Guyana and St. Lucia than it is for the more tourism dependent countries such as Barbados, The Bahamas, St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada. There is a direct relationship between the patterns of development in the rural economy, the demise of traditional agriculture and increasing rural poverty. The contribution of agriculture to GDP has been declining absolutely and relatively in almost all the countries, exacerbating an already high rate of poverty. The highest levels of poverty are to be found in the rural, and particularly the agriculture sectors. This is underpined by the low levels of human capital development and high unemployment rates, particularly evident in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Suriname, but also a cause for concern in the OECS countries. The poverty levels in the region countries and the attendant inequalities, persist at unacceptably high levels, ranging from a high of 65% in Haiti to a low of 19% in Jamaica. An estimated 13.9% of the population of Barbados could be classified as poor, with most of those classified being females (59%) and single parents (57.3%). Through sizable inflows of concessionary finance, official grants and net private transfers from abroad, the countries are able to sustain some of their development programmes, but are finding it increasingly difficult to do so. Low yields of monocrops such as banana, sugar and nutmeg and the challenges of competing in international markets have resulted in a decline in the agricultural economy in the last decade. In agriculture, economic pressures to increase export crop production, together with tourism construction and expansion, have accelerated the clearing of forests and the establishment of agricultural and urban areas on steep hillsides which are highly susceptible to erosion. This has led to a significant loss of wildlife habitat and the subsequent reduction of species diversity. Tourism has grown dramatically however, and now represents more than one quarter of the region's total export receipts. However, during the last decade the countries have been challenged to deal with numerous environmental problems arising from tourism, including inadequate waste management, unsustainable water and energy consumption, the use of agro-chemicals to maintain the proliferation of golf courses and gardens, beach erosion and degradation of the marine ecosystems. Overcoming these challenges will be of critical importance to the rural territories, in particular, and the economies in general, as the countries of the Caribbean grapple with achieving the goals of sustainable economic development, and substantially reducing hunger and poverty by the year 2015.
Extracted from an IICA working document prepared by Joey Peltier, IICA’s Caribbean Regional Specialist for Sustainable Rural Development, based in the Barbados office. 2 Caribbean excludes Belize, Montserrat and the French departments, the BVIs and USVIs, and includes the Bahamas.

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The State of the Fisheries Industry in Antigua – Barbuda
Ian S. Horsford1

An important livelihood..
Capture fisheries, based largely on finfish, spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) and queen conch (Strombus gigas), is an integral element of the Antigua and Barbuda agriculture sector. The Barbudan economy is particularly vulnerably due to its heavy reliance on lobster exports as a foreign exchange earner. Over the last 30 years, the sector has undergone significant modernisation, evident in the upgrading of fishing fleet to modern fibreglass launches and pirogues equipped with the latest fishing gear, (global positioning systems, depth sounder, trap haulers, etc). However, while there have been significant changes in vessel construction and fishing technology, traps or “fish pots” remain the dominant gear. With the constant growth in the number of fishing vessels over the past eight years, fisheries production continues to rise, contributing to 50% of the agricultural GDP of EC$ 62.6 Million or 1.6% of the national GDP (in current prices) for 2002. However the numerous hurricanes experienced over the past decade have significantly reduced the level of fishing activity. For example, of the 695 vessels registered at the end of 2003, only 292 (42%) were actively fishing, accounting for 724 fishers or 2% of the labour force of 33,000. These values should be taken as conservative estimates since the sector continues to act as a “safety-net” for other economic activity. In other words, when there is a downturn in others sectors (e.g., tourism and construction) individuals re-enter or increase their activity in the fisheries sector. Pattern of Fish & Lobster Exports from Antigua & Barbuda
fresh fish live lobster 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000

ster from Antigua and Barbuda and prior to 1992, fishery exports mainly to the French territories of Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Barthelemy, averaged 473,000 lbs. For Barbuda in particular, as much as 84% of lobster landings are shipped to the French territories. With the harmonising of EU trade regulations in 1992, fishery exports have declined substantially, and are yet to recover their pre-1992 levels. For example, Article 5 of Directive 91/493 of the European Community legislation, which forbids the placing on the market of fishery products containing ciguatera toxins – the toxins responsible for “fish poisoning”, has placed severe restrictions on exports of mainly live lobster since local exporters cannot guarantee that their products are free from such toxins. Fish poisoning has long been recognised as a serious health problem endemic to the Leeward and Virgin Islands, with Antigua and Barbuda having some of the highest number of reported cases in the sub-region (295 cases in 2001 and 276 cases in 2002). With such figures, fish poisoning will continue to be detrimental to trade and a burden on our health care system. In addition to the challenges impose by the stringent EU trade requirements Antigua & Barbuda is also struggling to overcome trade sanctions (for conch) by virtue of its accession (since 1997) to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) which protects certain endangered species from overexploitation by means of a system of trade permits. Failure to meet reporting obligations and to enact CITES enabling legislation required to implement the Convention resulted in the imposition of sanctions in 1999. Trade sanctions resulting from failure to meet international standards, have had dire implications for Barbuda, since the lobster fishery offers the highest per capita earnings, with 26% of the population (of 1,400) financially dependent on this fishery.

Securing the Future of Fisheries
Antigua & Barbuda has initiated steps aimed at enhancing the country’s ability to meet the challenges posed by globalisation, trade liberalisation, multilateral environment agreements and international fisheries instruments. In 1999, a morphological study was conducted in 1999, followed by an abundance survey, both of which form the first steps in determining a “sustainable yield” for the stock. These initiatives aimed at improving the management of the conch resources and complying with obligations to CITES. More recently, the Fisheries Division has sought assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN with respect to bring the Fisheries Act (1983) and the Fisheries Regulations (1990), in line with development in current international fisheries law and related environmental agreements. The process will include onoging consultations with authorities and stakeholders to disucss a range of issues including, guiding principles for fisheries management (e.g., sustainable development, responsible fisheries, the precautionary approach, the ecosystem approach). These initiatives are vital to recapture markets, reverse the decline in exports and hence safeguard the livelihoods of fisherfolk and their dependents.

Under threat by trade regulations . .
Total export of fishery products has witnessed great annual fluctuation over the 1998-2000 period, with exports in 2002 valued at EC$ 1.59 Million. This represented an increase of 26.4%, in terms of quantity from the previous year, with Barbuda contributing 67.4%. However, the fisheries sector has not escaped the influence of globalization and trade liberalization, and more specifically, the tendency towards increased economic integration in the European Union (EU). The EU is the major export market for fish and lob1

Fisheries Officer/Marine Biologist, Fisheries Division, Antigua and Barbuda

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The Policy Process1 Focus on the policy process
The growing recognition of the importance of the policy process stems from the general concern about the persistence of policy failures in the agriculture of ACP countries, even after recognizing policy as a constraint. Indeed these failures have persisted from year to year, from regime to regime, and from one country to another as if the policy actors are incapable of learning from their own mistakes or from the mistakes of others, including their neighbors. The notion of the agricultural policy process has received considerable attention because of the manifest failure of the traditional (discrete policy) approach. This implies that policy is not just a set of discrete events, but a process of interactive phases as described below. 1. Problem recognition or identification This involves the recognition of an agricultural problem requiring appropriate response or action. There are long time elapses between the existence of a problem requiring a policy response and recognition of the existence of a problem. In this regard, policy networking creates substantial scope and opportunities for sharing information among countries relating to the mechanisms for reducing the time lags. 2. Policy formulation, deign and articulation It is one thing to recognize the existence of a problem. It is quite another to design an appropriate policy package in response to the problem. As in the first stage, there are long time lags between recognition of a problem’s existence and the design of appropriate policy responses. 3. Policy appraisal or verification After formulating a policy, it is argued, the package should be appraised prior to commitment of scarce resources, including verifying the underlying assumptions and conducting sensitivity analysis. Although this stage is critical, it is usually skipped in most ACP countries. 4. Policy implementation and adoption Many policy packages remain on the shelf, gathering dust; some are adopted after a long time has elapsed; others are never implemented. It is crucial to get policy makers in the government to believe in the package, to endorse it and be prepared to encourage its implementation. 5. Policy evaluation and impact assessment This final stage involved looking back to see how the policy implementation has performed against the stated objectives (evaluation) and against some quality of life parameters (impact assessment).Again, long time lags between policy implementation and policy assessment occur for many reasons including hasty policy designs that make little or no provisions for monitoring and

evaluation and lack of the ‘culture’ of using monitoring and evaluation and a management tool.

Some important polices lie outside agriculture
Among the characteristic features of policy is that some of the most important policies, in terms of their consequences for agriculture, lie outside agriculture. These are: • foreign exchange rate policies, that set the average levels and their consequences for the foreign and domestic prices of exports and imports of agricultural commodities, including inputs and outputs. (Volatile exchange rates cause a loss of confidence and instability in the business environment. Over-valued exchange rates reduce export competitiveness.) monetary policies and their inflationary implications for the domestic terms of trade between the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, the term-structure of interest rates and the supply and demand for loanable funds in agriculture. fiscal policies, (taxes, tariffs, minimum wages, inflationary deficit financing) and their consequences for domestic terms of trade which govern the exchange of agricultural products for products from no-agricultural sectors; income policies (national minimum wages, equity etc.) that are usually targeted at the urban labour force wages but have consequences for rural labour supplies, issues of gender equity, regional income distribution etc; national industrial policies, such as, policies to provide cheap agricultural raw materials for agricultural industrialization. international trade and balance of payments policies.

Experiences and failures of the agricultural sector in ACP countries suggest that the agricultural policy process itself, is unstable, due, in part to an absence of socio-political consensus on a minimum set of values, beliefs and philosophy underlying agricultural policy that are regime (government)-neutral and weaknesses of the community of stakeholders in the agricultural policy process. The following conclusions are clear. • • • • Agricultural policy matters; Agricultural policy analysis matters, but only up to a point; Agricultural policy is not a series of discrete events but a process; The agricultural policy process requires types and sources of information for which Caribbean countries need to develop the capacity to generate and disseminate efficiently.

Extracted and summarized from “A Framework for agricultural policy process analysis”, Francis Idachaba, International Service for National Agricultural Research, The Netherlands, published in the Proceedings of a CTA Workshop on Agricultural policy networking: the way forward. Uganda, 6-10 November 2000.

All the above, and particularly the latter conclusion, further justify the concept of policy networking for information exchange and hence the establishment of an RAPN in the Caribbean.
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The Caribbean Agricultural Policy Network

Building Capacity to Manage the Caribbean RAPN Background:
“Good management – as critical as good policy” Having already established that ‘policy’ and the ‘policy process’ are weak links that affect the agricultural sectors of Caribbean countries; and having also established that Caribbean policy makers agreed that a regional policy network was an important mechanism to strengthen the environment for policy making, the CTA, IICA and CARDI determined that building regional capacity to manage such a network was a critical logical step to strengthen the RAPN, and ultimately, the policy process for agriculture in the region. A series of training courses designed to improve skills in the management of those persons identified as coordinators or potential coordinators for agricultural policy networks is planned for the Caribbean region. The first course, held in Guyana over the period 6-10 October 2003, also coincided with the official launch of the CaRAPN and timed to coincide with a meeting of senior policy makers during a Caribbean Week of Activities.

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Global developments, characterized by market openness and integration, make it imperative for the Caribbean to rethink its policies and strategies for agricultural and rural development. Networking is the most cost-effective and modern mechanism to foster widespread involvement of agricultural sector stakeholders in the policy process.


“in collaboration with national, regional and international institutions and other networks, the Network will strengthen linkages at the national and regional levels and contribute to cost-effective agricultural policy decision making”.


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establish and operate, through networking, a system of information exchange for the promotion of effective agricultural and rural development policies in the context of objectives related to national development; support the formulation of common negotiating positions with regard to extra-regional agricultural trade agreements and promote intra-regional trade.

About The Workshop
The issue of how best to manage an agricultural policy networks for achieving best results is important, particularly enhancing the understanding of stakeholders of how agricultural policy networks function and are managed. These stakeholders include those who receive products and services from the network and/or contribute to the production and dissemination of products and services.


✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧

forum for dialogue and consultation; support to preparation and dissemination of policy papers, technical and statistical reports; facilitation of easier access to relevant databases, websites, directories, publications and information; support to training in policy analysis and formulation; promotion of greater visibility of regional agriculture through its web-page and links to other networks; support to advocacy and public awareness of emerging agricultural and trade related policy issues.

Membership is open to Ministries of Agriculture and all
existing networks in agriculture.
Cross-section of policy network stakeholders

The strength and relevance of the Network depends on participation and ownership of all relevant actors and stakeholders in the agricultural policy process.

The workshop sought to provide national and regional network managers with the skills, methods and tools necessary to develop mechanisms and activities to improve agricultural policies. Another objective was to enhance a common understanding among key stakeholders on network functioning and management issues to better enable the regional network to achieve its mission.

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Private Sector Supports CaRAPN
“If the poultry industry has money, it is because they are part of a network that works!”

Agricultural Networking in the Caribbean – Experiences
Discussions on benefits of an agricultural policy network in the Caribbean have taken place since the mid-1990s. In the context of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), cost-effective, self-sustaining networking will be a particularly important mechanism for fostering widespread involvement of stakeholders in regional agricultural policy formulation. Given the ongoing international trade negotiations, policy information networking was cited as an important vehicle through which relevant concerns, ideas and information may be shared between and among policy makers and stakeholders. IICA has been promoting and supporting networking to address specific aspects of agricultural development at the regional level. These include: • Caribbean Council for Higher Education (CACHE) (Nov. 1997), among agricultural degree-granting and tertiary education Universities; • Caribbean AgriBusiness Association (CABA) (Nov. 1998), comprising entrepreneurs, including farmers associations, a major private sector advocate for agriculture; • Caribbean Agricultural Science and Technology Networking System. (PROCICARIBE) (1998), an umbrella network comprising several thematic (marketing intelligence, Plant Genetic Resources, Post Harvest Technology etc) and commodity networks (rice, vegetables, fruits, root crops, small ruminants, etc); • Caribbean Network of Rural Women’s Producers (CNRWP) (July 1999), to enhance their skills, self-reliance and empowerment in the decision making process; • Alliance for the Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu in the Caribbean (October 2001), which includes a Ministers of Agriculture Forum and other stakeholder networks; • Caribbean Agricultural Forum for Youth (CAFY) (December 2002) to encourage greater youth involvement in agricultural development in all its dimensions. With agricultural trade liberalization, the 1990s also saw an unusual visibility and consolidation of existing commodity associations/networks. Among the oldest regional commodity associations is the Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC) and the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA). The changed conditions in the 1990s also spawned the establishment of new commodity networks, such as, the Caribbean Poultry Association (CPA), and the more recent Regional Pork and Pork Producers Association, launched in 2003 and patterned largely against the CPA. Within the last two years, initiatives have also been made towards the development of a Regional Farmers Association. The success and future of the agriculture and food sector will affect everyone, albeit in different degrees. Therefore, this movement towards networking in agriuclture, that will gain momentum as the 21st century progresses, augers well for the task of repositioning regional agriculture and the rural communities into the evolving global environment.

So stated Dr. Keith Amiel, Manager-Corporate Affairs, Caribbean Broiler (Jamaica Ltd), when he addressed members at the official launch of the Caribbean Agricultural Regional Policy Network. The launch of the RAPN coincided with the 5th IICA-sponsored Caribbean Week of Agriculture in Guyana. Dr. Amiel is one of the founding members of the RAPN, which was first discussed at a workshop in Suriname in January 2003. He urged the Caribbean agricultural stakeholders to “network as fast as it can” to facilitate the effective response to the challenges and opportunities that emerge from deepening global integration. These sentiments coming from the private sector is further manifestation of the proactive stance taken by the agribusiness sector in the shaping of agriculture to meet the demand and requirements of the 21st century.

Policy Perspective: A sample of what we are up against!
“America should continue to be a global agricultural leader in the 21st Century. Our farmers and food companies benefit from a wealth of natural resources, cutting edge technology and supporting infrastructure. With these assets we can compete with anybody in the world – provided markets are open, trade is not distorted by subsidies and our own domestic support programs do not inadvertently reduce our competitiveness”. Enhancing US global agriculture competitiveness will focus on: continuing the liberalization of trade in agriculture; enhancing the competitiveness of our food and agricultural exports; ensuring that farmers have the proper tools (infrastructure and assistance programs); and; pursing an ambitious and focused global marketing strategy.” From ‘USDA Food and Agriculture Policy” September 2001

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Defining Regional Agricultural Policy Networking
• ‘Regional’ implies addressing issues that cut across national political boundaries. For this to happen and be effective and sustainable, such issues have to be relevant to the governments and peoples of the various countries covered. • ‘Agricultural’ implies that we are confining ourselves to a particular sector – agriculture. In so doing we recognize that there are many other sectors which relate to and influence agriculture. We also realize the difficulty of establishing boundaries between agricultural and non-agricultural issues. • ‘Policy’ implies a statement of intent, a prescription of what needs to be done to achieve a particular purpose and goal. Hence policies are derived and applied at all levels of society by a wide spectrum of people and organizations. • ‘Networking’ is a combination of two words, ‘net’ and ‘working’. This distinction is critical because often we have the ‘net’ but not the ‘working’ and yet we talk of ‘networking’. The policy ‘net’ in the context of an RAPN consists of all partners involved in key agricultural policy areas in the region, which in CARICOM, includes national, regional and international private and public sector organizations, groups and association, involved in the policy process at all different stages. The ‘net’ implies that there are bridges between the different entities and linking them to a nucleus, which in the Caribbean’s case is the RAPN. These bridges are formed through informal and formal statements of intent to collaborate. Forming the ‘net’ is a necessary but not sufficient condition for networking. Deliberate efforts must be made to put the ‘working’ in place. The latter comprises tangible and explicit activities that jointly take place between and among the partners of the ‘net’. For success and sustainability, there must be undoubted conviction of value-added in networking compared to countries operating individually. The value-added in networking should be greater than the sum of the value-added when the units work individually.
Reproduced from “Regional agricultural policy analysis networking in Eastern and Central Africa” Issac J. Minde, ECAPAPA. publsihed in the Proceedings of a CTA Workshop on Agricultural policy networking: the way forward. Uganda, 6-10 November 2000

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Agricultural Development
The application of new ideas, concepts and science to agriculture is a prerequisite if it is to, not only survive, but flourish in the 21st century. The revolution in international information and communications technologies (ICT), with the ever-expanding cyberspace linkages through the Internet and World Wide Web has the potential of doing more to enhance the international exchange of information, comprising ideas, concepts and science than any process the world has ever known. Global competitiveness is increasingly based on access to the information. Much of this information is available worldwide and can now be accessed, exchanged and used efficiently through ICT. The agri-food sector is complex and diverse and the agricultural policy process itself, requires types and sources of information for which Caribbean countries need to develop the capacity to generate and disseminate efficiently. ICTs can provide the best options for developing countries to effectively meet the information and communication requirements, and more particularly, in improving the effectiveness of policy networking. ICT benefits range from improving access to information for policy and decision making to enabling the most rural and micro producer to search for, promote and engage in direct marketing to customers in diverse markets around the world. However, Caribbean countries will need to invest heavily in ICT infrastructure and systems, for any such benefits to flow. Caribbean countries will have to seriously address the general inadequacy of infrastructure, specifically, information and communication infrastructure, and even more critically, the underdeveloped IC systems in agriculture and rural areas. Also the rapid pace at which information is being generated challenges our countries’ capabilities to organize and transfer it and challenge users’ capabilities to utilize it effectively. As well as physical infrastructure, management of effective information services to a clientele that has little historical experience in using ‘real time’ information for decision-making also needs to be enhanced. Ignoring the need to develop ICT capacity is tantamount to adopting the approach that we will not participate in globalization; that will guarantee that we will continue to be marginalized from the global economy.

You are invited to visit the RAPN at www.rapn.net to get more information and to become member in our growing policy networking for agriculture in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean RAPN needs YOU! Contact us at www.rapn.net share your experiencs and contribute to a stronger policy environment for agriculture.

Quarterly Newsletter Vol. 10, No. 1



What’s Happening in the Negotiations? Negotiating Deadlock . . .
Like the subject of the negotiations – agriculture - the agricultural negotiations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) started 2004 in crisis! Agriculture is a major “deal maker or breaker”. The FebruaryApril period seemed to be ‘crunch-time’, a time to get these back on track if they both were to make their deadline date of 2005. That deadline now seems highly unlikely! While the countries profess their commitment to these negotiations, the task ahead has grown even more complex. Key players, United States (US), the G-20 (18 large developing country agricultural exporters, including Brazil and Cuba) and the Cairns Group (a mix of 17 developed (including Canada and Australia) and developing (including Brazil and Costa Rica)), can convince the European Union (EU) to agree on negotiating an end date for phasing-out all forms of export subsidies. Although in March, indications out of Geneva had suggested possible new signs of movement, based on signals from key players, the US and EC, the negotiations are still a long way from consensus on at least a framework for the agriculture modalities. The future of the FTAA negotiations still remains questionable, as Members are yet to resolve the fundamental issue over the common set of obligations. Agriculture is again the major source of conflict, with the US and its supporters accusing Mercosur countries (5 South American countries led by Brazil), of seeking excessive agricultural concessions while offering little in the way of concessions on services, intellectual property and government procurement. The FTAA negotiations are also challenged to balance the interests and bridge the wide gap among its members. Resolving these issues is critical to arriving at a common framework for liberalizing trade in agricultural products in the hemisphere. The May-August period is set become the most critical period for substantial progress to be made in both the WTO and FTAA agriculture negotiations. This task seems quite daunting, since the developed countries continue to resist disciplines that would reduce their ability to substantially support their agricultural sectors. In addition to domestic agricultural support and export subsidies negotiations, market access negotiations are also continuing.

New Beginnings . . .
Beginning in January 2008, Caribbean countries will have entered into an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with EU. That is, provided these negotiations, which kicked off to a positive start in April in Jamaica, remain on track. The EPA, to be implemented gradually over a period likely to exceed 10 years, signals the end of an era in two fundamental respects. The EPA will govern trade relations between the EU and each distinct region within the ACP group; rather than between the EU and the ACP as a group. The unified ACP could soon be history! Under the EPA, trade between the EU and CARICOM will now have to be reciprocal in order to be compatible with WTO rules. CARICOM countries will soon have to grant market access concessions to the EU in agriculture and other areas. Non-reciprocal trade relations could also be history! At the April launch, both the Caribbean and EU negotiators endorsed the structure and schedule of the negotiations, which are already shaping up to be as complex and multifaceted as the wider WTO and FTAA negotiations. The net impact of an EPA on the preferences from which CARICOM agricultural exports still benefit is yet unclear particularly since the preferential arrangements for bananas, sugar, rice and rum would have already been significantly eroded before the EPA comes on stream in January 2008! For example, the waiver granted by the WTO for continuation of preferential treatment for banana exports to the EU will expire in 2006. For sugar, the extent to which an EPA changes the current preferences depends on the treatment of the Sugar Protocol in the EPA negotiations. The Sugar Association of the Caribbean (SAC) is adamant that the Cotonou Agreement (which, in June 2002, continued the non-reciprocal trade preferential treatment started under the Lomé Convention) preserves the status of the Sugar Protocol between the EU and ACP countries as a legally binding arrangement of indefinite duration. However, several developments, including challenges to the EU’s common market arrangements for sugar, by Australia, Brazil and Thailand may undermine the real benefits of the Sugar Protocol for CARICOM. The planned enlargement of the EU membership to 25, on May 1st will further add to the complexity of issues for agriculture, since of the 10 new members, agriculture as a sector, is critically important to four, with its importance to the other six, varying based on individual industries.

Take Note
Out of the Mouth of Developed Countries
“..market access matters more for those who have got less . . Trade expansion is critical; but critical for whom? I would argue that whilst it is ‘important’ for the developed world, the only countries for whom it is actually ‘critical’ are the developing ones, in particular the poorest..... The ‘Everything But Arms’ agreement and the European system of trade preferences are what has contributed to our becoming the largest importer, by far of agricultural products from developing countries.”
Dr. Franz Fischler, EC Member responsible for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, commenting on the US Food and Agriculture Policy. USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum 2004

Appropriate Responses
Caribbean business and public sector officials seem united in their concerns over the implications of the continued liberalization in agriculture. Regional trade negotiators must redouble their efforts to secure genuine understanding and assistance from the international community that would provide Caribbean agriculture with the time and resources required to make the transformation into the 21st century. In the context of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, regional governments should also commit to policies and support that would enhance the emergence of a “new agriculture” based on business practices, environmental sustainability and competitiveness.
Trimesterly Newsletter Vol. 10, No. 1



Taking ‘Old’ Agriculture into ‘New’ frontiers: Organics and Herbs
Diana Francis

The Backdrop
Demand for ecologically-friendly, good-for-you foods and beverages has given momentum to world organic and health foods market. In addition, revolutionary advances in production and processing technologies have increased the source of new products and new product uses for farmers that are not limited to ‘food’. These include, what the Americans call “farmacological” (pharmacological) products (agriculturally grown farmaceuticals (pharmaceuticals).

organic sub-sector to capitalize on the large and rapidly growing world organics market.

When have herbs not been Healthy?
In response to the growing health consciousness and the demand for more wholesome and safe foods, the world herbal market has come into increased focus within recent times. Natural Health products, nutraceuticals and functional foods account for approximately US $70250 billion annually with the primary markets being US, Europe, Japan and Asia. There is an estimated global growth in nutritional products of 510% per annum with the greatest potential in Latin America, Europe, Canada, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.

Growing Organic!

The US organic market has experienced incredible growth over the past decade; Japan is increasingly being described as the beacon of the organic movement in Asia; with steady demand for organic fruit and vegetables in European countries. Several Caribbean countries are The Caribbean herbal sector is vigorously pursuing and expanding into very fragmented with poor cooperathe ‘new wave’ of modern organic protion among its participants. Efforts to duction. These include the Windward redress this situation to further the Islands, supported by WIBDECO herbal sub-sector in the Caribbean together with leading UK supermarkets, were spearheaded very recently, at a have initiated organic bananas early in December 2002 Caribbean Herbs 2000 and Guyana, in organic sugarcane Business Forum, under the theme and molasses. It is also believed that a “Fostering commercial partnerships significant proportion of Cuba’s agrifor sustainable and economic use of culture is also organic, with extensive biodiversity”. Emerging from the Organic Agriculture - Nature’s Way research in integrated pest management. forum was overwhelming consensus However the Dominican Republic and on the potential of the herbal industry for the region, based on the Costa Rica stand out. numerous opportunities to transform the current marginal and tra• The Dominican Republic, which initiated organic production ditional use of herbal medicines into the contemporary mainsince the early 1980s, has become the Caribbean’s leading stream market. Among the reasons for investing in the developexporter, with organic bananas that accounts for 80% of all ment of a Caribbean herbal industry included the need to encourorganic exports, experiencing phenomenal growth in the age appropriate diversification in agriculture, import substitution, 1990s. Organic coffee, cacao, pineapple, coconut, sugar, using both forestry and agricultural raw materials, and utilization lemons and oranges are also exported. Organic vegetables are of the great biodiversity of traditional medicinal plants to producsold on the local market. er herbal extracts which could be labor intensive, in favor of the • Costa Rica is also an emerging organic exporter, with an esti- Caribbean situation. mated 14,560 ha of organic production, comprising bananas, orange (for both fresh and juice concentrates), mango, pasSo what’s New? sion fruit, pineapple, coffee and cocoa, sugar cane for exports, Certainly neither organic farming nor herbal production! and a diverse range of vegetables, roots and tubes and herbs Caribbean farmers have been engaged in this traditional activity, exclusively for the local market. Costa Rica also produces albeit in an uninformed, unregulated and unorganized fashion. organic fertilizer for its own use. What’s new is the unprecedented application of stringent safetyCompliance with standards has become the benchmark for related standards to production processes and farm management determining competitiveness in the organics market. However, as and their accompanying certification requirements. What is also no universally accepted organic standard exists, Caribbean new, and particularly alarming, is that these standards are being exporters of organic products producers face difficulties in imple- determined and developed largely by developed countries with menting specified systems, in complying with stringent, country- agronomic, economic and social conditions that differ, sometimes specific standards and in getting accredited against a number of substantially from Caribbean situations. Increasingly, it is standifferent, and sometimes conflicting standards. This challenge dards, such as these, that are converting traditional knowledge and notwithstanding, Caribbean countries continue to nurture their practice into the ‘new agri-culture’.
Quarterly Newsletter Vol. 10, No. 1



Changing Youth Perceptions on Agriculture1 The future looks bright …
Caribbean agriculture is at the proverbial cross-road. Decreasing world market prices for traditional products and competing career options have led to dwindling participation in agriculture across the board. This decline is especially marked among our youth. Hence the establishment of the Caribbean Agricultural Forum for Youth (CAFY), encouraged and supported by IICA and other friendly organizations. young man has evolved into one of our champions for the cause of agriculture both at the technical and administrative levels. I am also sure, that with similar focus and commitment, there are some potential Ministers and even Prime Ministers among us who could take charge of securing the future of agriculture in the Caribbean. This example also serves to underscore, to our youth that agriculture can no longer be seen as being reserved for those of lesser academic ability. It is therefore necessary to transform how agriculture is presented in our schools’ curriculum, if it is to attract the brightest and more innovative of our young people, required to give the necessary impetus to advance our agricultural sectors.

Women: an unrecognized and untapped engine!
As it relates to our women, contrary to the popular belief based on an economic bias, I have always understood our Caribbean societies as being matriarchal. This is even more pronounced today as we see the emergence of more and more single parent families, most of which are headed by our women. History has shown that it is our mothers who have held the primary responsibility of harnessing the values of our children, and therefore responsible for nurturing our human capital, which lays the platform on which sound economic development can take place. However, the role of our women does not stop there. Changes in the societal landscape of the Caribbean has given rise to the economic empowerment of our women and we know that agriculture holds tremendous potential opportunities for our women, without compromising that needed, loved and appreciated gift of positively shaping future generations. Let me reassure, that as far as ideas and energy levels among us - the youth in agriculture - the future looks bright. The challenge for us now is to translate our vision and energy onto the minds and spirits of our youth so that we all come to the common understanding of the critical importance of a revitalized agricultural sector to the sustainability of life as we know it.

Damien Hinds addressing the launch of the CaRAPN

Agriculture not limited to farming . . .
There is an urgent need to change the perception of agriculture on the minds of our youth. Agriculture must no longer be seen as “nuff” work with little reward. We have to remove the caricature of the farmer being one with a hoe and fork, working for long hours in the hot sun, then returning to a sub-standard home with barely sufficient money to hold body and soul together. Additionally, it must be impressed on our youth that agriculture is not limited only to farming, but must now be seen as the entire spectrum of activity responsible for bringing the food from the farm to the table. Careers such as soil science, marketing, irrigation management, hydroponics etc. must be seen within the realm of agricultural activity. Another chief reason for the departure from agriculture in the Caribbean is the relative lapse in embracing modern technologies and techniques to advance the sector. Students often ask “why is it, that while all spheres of education have embraced new techniques to ensure that the attention and interest of the youth is captured, in agriculture we seem to be preaching the same old stories on how to plant food and raise animals to our students”.

Not for the less academically inclined
As shared Dr. Winston Small, patron to the Barbados Chapter, “one of my undying memories is of the day when I told my uncle I was going to Trinidad to do a degree in agriculture, to which his horrified response was: But Winston why would you want to do that, you were a very bright boy at Harrison College (one of the more prestigious schools)”. Well I’m happy to state that that
Cross-section of stakeholders - Ministry policy makers, women and youth at the 4th CWA in Guyana

Extracted from an address by Damien Hinds Secretary Barbados Agricultural Forum for Youth and Representative of CAFY to a regional workshop on Enhancing Agricultural Policy Development and Implementation through the participation of Women and Youth, Guyana, October, 2003.

Trimesterly Newsletter Vol. 10, No. 1

Coming Soon . . . CWA promotions

Mark Your Calendars! Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2004
The Annual Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) provides a forum for dialogue among stakeholders at all levels and an opportunity for showcasing the best products that Caribbean agriculture has to offer. Like its predecessors, the 4th CWA held in October 2003, was also groundbreaking, in that it officially launched the Regional Agricultural Policy Network (RAPN) in the Caribbean. On the agenda for the CWA 2004, scheduled for 30 October to 7 November, in Grenada, includes the usual network AGMs (Caribbean AgriBusiness Association, Caribbean Network of Rural Women Producers, Caribbean Forum for Youth in Agriculture etc), two workshops focusing on the topics agrotourism and on information strategies for the repositioning of Caribbean agriculture and a trade show and the second annual meeting of the Alliance for the Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu in the Caribbean.

Articles, news updates, book reviews, questions and comments for publication in the AgriView Newsletter are welcomed. A Newsletter produced in Trinidad and Tobago for the Caribbean Region, published to provide information and encourage discussion relevant to the promotion and development of the concept of “Agriculture Beyond a Sectoral Approach” to encourage agriculture development. Editor-in-chief: Aaron Parke Editor: Naitram Ramnanan This Issue Prepared by: Diana Francis Production: Morton Publishing ISSN - 0534-5391-A2/TT-03/04
Telephones: (1 868) 628-4403; 628-4078; 628-4079. Fax: (1 868) 628-4562. EMail:iicatt@iicacarc.org





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