The A-Z Information Jamaica Limited has been awarded the contract for the consultancy on “Value Chain Analysis and Development of Business Cases”. This consultancy is part of the wider Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) financed project – Regional Sweet Potato Value Chain Enhancement and Technology Transfer being implemented by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI).
By conducting a value chain analysis and development of business cases, the consultants will develop recommendations for strengthening the regional sweet potato value chain, improve market linkages and highlight opportunities for investments in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Guyana. The results of this work will be shared across the wider CARICOM Region.
CARDI’s project manager, Reginald Andall notes that “Sweet potato has the potential to contribute to nutrition security, growth and economic prosperity across the Caribbean. We are hopeful that the recommendations generated will be adopted by farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) so they can profit from the increasing market opportunities for fresh produce and valueadded products.”
Specifically, the consultancy seeks to understand the firms that operate within the sweet potato industry from input suppliers to end market buyers; the support markets that provide technical, business and financial services to the industry and the business environment in which the industry operates. Furthermore, constraints to competitiveness will be identified and recommendations provided to address same. Additionally, commercial and niche product markets and their requirements for entry will be identified. A market assessment to determine the demand for sweet potato and sweet potato value-added products, raw material production, food safety and trade requirements and strategies/recommendations for linking farmers and agro-processors (including women and youth) to markets will also be produced for each project country.
Through the business cases, the stakeholders will be furnished with relevant information to guide investment decision making.
Roots and tubers, particularly sweet potato, have been identified as a priority crop for development in CARICOM to reduce its food import bill. CARDI, through partnerships including the International Potato Centre (CIP), undertakes agronomic and value chain research to improve sweet potato production and processing. Some of the achievements to date have been the introduction of high yielding cultivars, agro-ecological zone trials, integrated pest management (IPM) studies, post-harvest handling studies, and standardization of the multiple varieties/accessions and the identification of drought-tolerant varieties.