Mr. Joseph Cox, Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration at the CARICOM Secretariat stressed that the Region had to treat agriculture as a business and not as a tool for social engineering for excess labour. The Community needed to become competitive in agriculture, he pointed out.
His brief remarks were made before the Sixty-Second Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Agriculture got underway in the Cayman Islands on Friday morning. The COTED is one of the key events of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) being held for the first time in a CARICOM Associate Member.
The theme of the CWA is 'Investing in food and agriculture'
Ministers will deliberate on an packed agenda that includes an umbrella topic 'Increasing agricultural investment, production and exports'. The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) is leading discussions on the topic that will pay attention to progress on roots and tubers, especially cassava, small ruminants, fish and dish products and the coconut industry.
The improvement of intra-regional trade, transportation, and assistance to Haiti following the passage of Hurricane Matthew, are among the other main items on which the COTED will hold discussions. Policy issues in agriculture account for most of the other agenda items.