This initiative emphasises the potential for investment in the Caribbean agricultural sector and promotes responsible investment that can help the region access export markets.
In general, small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises tend to be found in rural areas, isolated from export markets and financing opportunities that are tailored to meet their needs. Farmers also often lack good information about export markets that allow them to meet the quality and production cycles that buyers demand.
A fundamental part of the guide is the cycles of production and investment which allow potential investors to understand the financial and operational requirements associated with sweet potato production, and when a farmer would start to earn the income required to repay a loan. Understanding this information is fundamental for a potential investor to be able to develop financial products and services adapted to this specific sector and geographical region.
This guide also presents the range of risks associated with investment in the Caribbean sweet potato sector and basic recommendations for how they could be addressed. Most farmers are in remote or isolated locations which underlines the need for new financial models that consider the strengthening of farmer organisations. It is important to realise that the sweet potato sector offers investment opportunities for the short, medium and long term.
The importance of these investments cannot be overstated. An investment can decide the future of a farm and the family it supports, as well as modelling good practices for the broader community in which it is situated. It can ensure that land is used in a way that is economically, environmentally and socially responsible.
As an appendix to the guide, there is contact information from financial institutions that represent the financial ecosystem of the Caribbean and which could be interested in collaborating strategically to support a more vibrant agricultural marketplace.