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Minister: Investment will be agriculture conference focus

Cayman News, CBS News, 21 Sep 2016

September 21, 2016

(CNS Business): Agriculture Minister Kurt Tibbetts has said 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 host of the 14th Annual Caribbean Week of Agriculture next month (CWA), which the minister said placed agriculture and rural life on the "front burner", and as the leading Financial Services Centre in the region, it had been agreed that "the issue of investment would be the appropriate focus".

The conference, hosted in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat, the Alliance for Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu (the Alliance), looks to enable key figures and 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 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," Tibbetts stated in a release about the conference. "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."

Councillor for Tourism Joseph Hew stated that the conference served "as a 'vehicle' for exchanging ideas and the forging of joint initiatives aiming to increase agri-business opportunities, by bringing together these decision-makers and stakeholders to discuss issues and developments related to agriculture".

Pointing to the economic importance of developing the link between agriculture and tourism in the Caribbean, Hew added, "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."

Ministers of agriculture, permanent secretaries, chief technical officers, senior CARICOM officials and delegates from across the Caribbean are expected to attend the event. A delegation from the Pacific Islands, as well as leaders from neighbouring territories will also be coming to Cayman for the conference.

The event will include a 'Marketplace' Outdoor Living Expo, organised in partnership with the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, which will be held at the ARC at Camana Bay from 26-27 October.

Chamber Of Commerce CEO Will Pineau stated, "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 ... and we encourage local business owners not to miss this opportunity to get involved."