Agriculture is at a crossroads in the Caribbean. The end of preferential conditions for exports of traditional commodities such as bananas, sugar and rice to the European Union has affected an estimated 500,000 small-scale farmers. Natural resource degradation, climate change, limited financing, heavy food import dependency and growing levels of nutrition-related diseases are additional problems. The result has been a sharp decline in agriculture's contribution to the region's Gross Domestic Product in recent years. The Pacific region shares many of the same challenges, including high food import bills, diseases linked to diet and vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change.
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and partners are organising a series of work sessions to allow Caribbean and Pacific agrifood players to exchange experiences and learn from each other in addressing these challenges. The Caribbean-Pacific Agri-Food Forum will be held in Bridgetown, Barbados from November 2 to 6, 2015. The five-day event, with a strong focus on action-oriented approaches and people-centred solutions, will bring together a range of actors from the agrifood system to engage in collective action that can help to spur innovative agricultural and rural development – not just in the Caribbean, but also in Pacific small island development states (SIDS).
The week will kick off with three days of workshops and meetings, covering areas that include building a successful agribusiness company, youth entrepreneurship and social media, inclusive value chain development, ICTs for fisheries, policy advocacy for Caribbean and Pacific farmers' leaders, access to finance, strengthening the link between agriculture and nutrition and successful initiatives to counter climate change.
The 2nd Caribbean Agribusiness Forum - Strengthening the agrifood sector and expanding markets, will take place on November 5 and 6, highlighting the main drivers of agribusiness development and looking at success stories. The two-day event will be attended by agribusiness private sector players, decision-makers, policy-makers, financial institutions, chefs, development partners and other actors.
A rich array of side events planned throughout the week will showcase innovations in ICTs for value chains, offer training in social media and Web 2.0 tools and examine information, knowledge and knowledge management resources to support youth entrepreneurship and agribusiness start-up. A session scheduled for November 7 will explore the role of chefs in linking agriculture and tourism and review the fledgling Chefs for Development Platform. There will be opportunities for business networking, before, during and after the sessions and social media reporting will be provided throughout.
In parallel to the first three days of sessions, a Learning Journey will be staged in Trinidad and Tobago, with the theme: food processing, branding and standards, related to nutrition.
Immediately after the Barbados-based events - from November 9-13 - a group of Caribbean and Pacific participants will take part in a 5-day Learning Journey in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Jamaica. The topic for this journey will be: profitable and sustainable value chains in the Caribbean, with a focus on roots and tubers.
Knowledge exchange will be a central feature of all activities planned during and after the Caribbean-Pacific Agri-Food Forum, and this approach is expected to lead to new links and dynamics, including between regions.
Anyone wishing to participate in events at the Caribbean and Pacific Agrifood Forum, or find out more, should contact: email@example.com
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