GEORGETOWN: The European Union is providing €8.6 million to boost agriculture in the Caribbean.
The funds are being provided under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Intra-African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Agriculture Policy Program for the Caribbean between the European Commission and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
The agreement was signed by Guyana President Donald Ramotar, who has lead responsibility for agriculture within the quasi-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) cabinet; the Delegate of the European Union (EU) to Guyana, Ambassador Robert Kopecky; Coordinator of IICA’s Regional Integration for the Caribbean Region, Gregg Rawlins and CARICOM Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque.
IICA is the principal implementing agency of the program on behalf of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM). The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute and the CARICOM Secretariat are implementing partners.
LaRocque said the implementation of the program comes at a time of significant challenges for the Caribbean in general, especially the 16 CARIFORUM states.
“It is a time when our states have no choice but to improve their competitiveness, with a view to achieving greater economic viability and sustainability,” he said. “That competitiveness would put us in good stead as we seek to take advantage of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union.”
The four-year program is specifically planned to further strengthen policy regimes and incentive schemes for agricultural smallholders across the region that form the bulk of producers. It would also improve food security by increasing production and productivity of selected commercially and nutritionally valuable agricultural produce.