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Cayman Hosts Caribbean Week of Agriculture Conference

caymanreporter.com, 21 Sep 2016

September 21, 2016

The fourteenth Annual Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA), one of the Caribbean's most significant Agriculture focused events, will be hosted in the Cayman Islands from 24-28 October, 2016 by the Ministry of Agriculture. The conference includes a 'Marketplace'- 2-day Outdoor Living Expo, organised in partnership with the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce. This prestigious conference is typically attended by Ministers of Agriculture, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Technical Officers, Senior CARICOM Officials and delegates from across the Caribbean. 

However, a delegation from the Pacific Islands, as well as leaders from neighbouring territories will also be travelling to the Cayman Islands for this year's event.

Hosted in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat and the Alliance for Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu ("The Alliance"), the Caribbean Week of Agriculture was conceptualised to place agriculture and rural life on the "front burner" of integrated regional activities. Its principle objective is to enable key decision-makers in the public and private sectors to better acknowledge the importance of agriculture and rural life, to the economic, social and environmental stability of the region. The theme for this year's conference is 'Investing in Foods and Agriculture.'

Hon Kurt Tibbetts, Minister for Agriculture, explained that "The challenge of attracting capital investment has long been recognised as a major constraint for the development of Agriculture in the Caribbean. As the 2016 host of CWA and the leading Financial Services Centre in the region, the Cayman Islands, along with the members of the CWA Steering Committee, agreed that the issue of investment would be the appropriate focus. The theme therefore signifies the importance of investment for both primary agriculture and the region's developing food industry."

Councillor for Tourism, Joseph Hew, who chairs the Local Organising Committee said, "As an Associate Member Territory of CARICOM, it is an honour for the Cayman Islands to have this opportunity to host the 2016 CWA. While tourism significantly contributes to all of the region's economies, it also boosts the agriculture sector by increasing the demand for, and consumption of, quality products that are locally produced. By bringing together decision-makers and stakeholders to discuss issues and developments related to agriculture, CWA serves as a valuable vehicle for exchanging ideas and the forging of joint initiatives aimed at increase agri-business opportunities," he said.

Although the week-long series of seminars and workshops will largely pertain to initiatives in agriculture, the Committee is also ensuring that linkages between tourism and agriculture in the Cayman Islands context are underscored, particularly during the host country social events. Aside from the meetings, delegates will have an opportunity to tour Grand Cayman and visit farmers and livestock producers in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. "The global focus on health and well-being has spurred a renewed interest in locally produced fruits and vegetables and livestock farming is now striving to meet increasing demand, said Minister Tibbetts. This ongoing evolution has helped to spur a thriving 'farm-to-fork' movement that is becoming so successful; it is one of the areas we look forward to showcasing for attendees," he said.

One of the highlights of CWA will be a two-day 'Marketplace' Outdoor Living Expo which will be held at the ARC at Camana Bay from 26-27 October. "Marketplace is a unique event for the Chamber of Commerce because it involves local as well as Caribbean businesses," stated Chief Executive Officer, Wil Pineau, "Marketplace provides an affordable opportunity for agriculture related enterprises in Cayman and across the Region to exhibit their products and services and to create a wider network with potential customers, prospects and business partners. The Chamber is excited to be partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Tourism and we encourage local business owners not to miss this outstanding opportunity to get involved."

For further information on the Caribbean Week of Agriculture please visit the conference website. To register for a booth at the Marketplace or to find out about sponsorship opportunities, please contact the Membership Coordinator at the Chambers of Commerce by visiting http://www.caymanchamber.ky/marketplace.html or calling 743-9129