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CTA

Calls for comprehensive review of CARICOM agro-food sector strategies

According to a briefing paper published by the FAO Subregional Office for the Caribbean, "CARICOM's food import bill sky-rocketed from US$2.08 billion in 2000 to US$4.25 billion in 2011." Four countries account for "over two-thirds by value of the food import bill".

According to the paper, "in 2010, only 12.7% of total food imports were sourced from within the Caribbean", compared to 17.3% in 2000. This is despite "the value of intra-regional food trade" having "grown by 48% during the period 2000 to 2012, from US$302 million to US$449 million". In terms of the biggest participants in intra-regional trade in agro-food products, "Jamaica (31%), Barbados (13%), Trinidad and Tobago (11%), Saint Lucia (11%) and Guyana (8%) continued to dominate."

The paper noted that the value of CARICOM rice imports increased by 92% in a little over a decade, from US$125 million in 2000 to US$240 million in 2011. Haiti and Jamaica accounted for 49% and 29% respectively of the regions rice imports.