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CARICOM Secretary-General calls for wider participation in CWA

Caricom Today, 26 Oct 2016

October 26, 2016

Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) officially opened in the Cayman Islands Wednesday morning with a call by CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, for participation by a wider cross-section of stakeholders.

"We must promote this event in such a manner that would bring about wider participation of all stakeholders, our farmers, the private sector, buyers and sellers, youth, women, our development partners, our institutions and agencies and our policy-makers as we seek to further develop the sector. That must be our goal," he told the large audience at the Westin Resort in Grand Cayman.

CWA is the Caribbean's premier agriculture event that was first held in Trinidad and Tobago in 1999. This year is historic. It is the first time that the CWA is being held in an Associate Member of CARICOM. There are more than 300 participants attending seminars and workshops under the theme 'Investing in food and agriculture'.

"As we seek to attract investment in both small and large scale agri-business initiatives, there must be encouragement for our youth, women and small scale farmers to play a greater part," he said.

The Secretary-General said he was pleased that there was a Youth and Women Pavilion at the CWA Marketplace that was put together by Youth and Agriculture Programmes at the CARICOM Secretariat. There are 12 youth and female agri-preneurs who will display a range of products from Haiti, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Barbados and Suriname and Cayman Islands. The Marketplace officially opens Wednesday evening

"The participants are just a sample of the youth and women in agribusiness from the Region who have received assistance through the 10th EDF Agriculture Policy Programme. We are seeking to create a new generation of CARICOM agribusiness professionals, now 45 in number and growing steadily.

Among the young agri-preneurs are also some beneficiaries of the CARICOM's Youth Entrepreneurship Programme, These youths have also received assistance in product development, packaging and marketing. The Secretariat and its partners will continue to encourage youth and women in agriculture, to counter the high unemployment rate among that segment of the Community," the Secretary-General said.

Please read the Secretary-General’s-Speech