Inclusive value chains for agri-food development in small island developing states

A value chain approach is a powerful formula for developing sustainable market linkages in vulnerable small island economies. That was a key message from the first day of the Caribbean and Pacific Agri-Food Forum, which opened in Barbados on November 2. This market-driven strategy for agri-food production can play an important role in bringing together farmers, fisherfolk, traders, food processers, marketers, buyers and financiers. As a result, small-scale farmers have better prospects of being linked to markets and livelihood prospects stand a good chance of being improved for all those in the chain, leading to more jobs, higher incomes and better food security.

Building on CTA’s efforts to promote value chain development in ACP communities, a two-day training workshop Value Chain Development and Inclusive Business Models is being held in Barbados as part of the Caribbean and Pacific Agri-Food Forum. The sessions, with a strong hands-on approach, are helping to provide tools to participants interested in creating or developing value chains in the Caribbean or Pacific islands, ensuring that they include low-income and disempowered sectors of the community. Agritourism is a special focus, given the strong potential it offers for agri-food development in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). 

“There’s a massive market here in the Caribbean, and it’s completely being missed, if you consider that the region has an annual US$5 million import bill,” said Joost Guijt, Senior Advisor Inclusive Agrimarkets at Wageningen University and co-host of the value chain workshop. “That strongly suggests there is a disconnect between what is being demanded and what is being produced. The value chain approach is a proven model for coordinating supply and demand, and our aim is to give people tools to make them operational.”

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The secret of a successful agribusiness company

Also on Monday 2 November, a workshop on How to create a successful agribusiness company showcased eight successful small and medium enterprise agribusinesses  – three from the Caribbean, three from the Pacific and two from Indian Ocean countries. Twenty emerging agribusiness managers – 15 from the Caribbean and five from Pacific countries – were then invited to turn their stories into a multimedia business case study, with help from a small team of social reporters. After the event, professional video editors will turn the results into high-quality business case studies.

Participants interested in trying their hands at using Web 2.0 and social media for agribusiness and marketing were invited to taster sessions based on CTA’s prize-winning training courses for these innovative online technologies. Sessions showed participants how to use web 2.0 and social media to support agribusiness through communications and marketing. On offer included training in advanced Google searches, Google Alerts, Google Drive and how to create a company Facebook page.