Phase II of the Coconut Industry Development for the Caribbean project, was launched in Barbados on 20 September 2019. Building on the foundation set under Phase I, the European Union (EU) and CARIFORUM funded project will invest a further 6 million euros to develop the region’s coconut industry. Phase II of the project focuses on improving the competitiveness of farmers and strengthening the coconut value chain. Climate change, health and nutrition, increasing investments and value added product development will be emphasised.
“CARIFORUM believes that the activities to be implemented through the project will position the region to take advantage, in a sustainable manner, of the opportunities created by rising global demand for coconuts and coconut products,” said Percival Marie Director CARIFORUM.
Under phase I of the project approximately 5,000 farmers were able to source planting materials from more than 20 seedling nurseries established/refurbished across the Caribbean. More than 2,000 farmers and 474 extension officers were trained in nursery management, pest management, crop production, processing, trade, finance and group dynamics. Additionally 11 private –public platforms were established and a new Caribbean wide standard for packaged coconut water developed.
In bringing greetings International Trade Center (ITC) Executive Director, Arancha González said that under Phase II “we aim to do more and do better”. She reiterated the importance of information, scaling up and stimulating investments to position the regional industry to capitalise on rising global demands.
Director-General of International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission Stefano Manservisi said that the business sector must be attracted to invest in the coconut industry. It will help in generating sustainable growth, and to
assist the EU has established a fund to help with de risking investments.
Executive Director, Barton Clarke said CARDI is happy to be co-implementing the project with ITC and looks forward to greater collaboration from all stakeholders, especially the private sector. This he says will lead to a more competitive, integrated and sustainable industry.
Prime Minister of Barbados, Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Q.C. delivered the feature address. She said it was time the private sector led the charge in agriculture by investing in the production, adding there could be a public/private sector partnership to improve regional maritime transport. Poor transportation is a chronic problem which continues to plague trade.
The 12 CARIFORUM states benefiting from the project are Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.