CTA activities in the Caribbean region

  • Caribbean

CTA has organised its work into several regional and global flagship projects, with the common aim of increasing agricultural productivity, building efficient agricultural value chains and markets, and promoting climate-smart agriculture. The regional projects integrate CTA's three strategic priorities: policies, value chains and knowledge management, in addition to empowerment for youth and women.

In the Caribbean region, the Centre's work aims to contribute to increased capabilities for small-scale producers, including women and young entrepreneurs, helping them to access and profit from domestic, regional and international markets (e.g. tourism). Access to key business development services, such as finance, will be facilitated, and capacities strengthened to make better use of natural resources by applying climate-smart farming practices.

Learn more about how CTA is contributing to 'Developing the business of agriculture in the Caribbean'

CTA's intervention at the level of farmers and their organisations focuses on two key outcome areas:

  1. enhancing horizontal coordination in specific value chains – i.e. roots & tubers and fruits & vegetables –among a significant number of farmers in order to allow benefits at a scale that would help them to escape poverty. This is to be achieved by concentrating on coordinated efforts to upgrade products, processes and productivity to match market demands; and
  2. facilitating access to critical business development services (BDS), such as finance, inputs, technology and value addition. Particular attention is also paid to the scope offered by ICTs to support value chain and agribusiness development, and as a vehicle for bringing young entrepreneurs closer to agriculture.

The Centre recognises that an enabling policy and business environment is critical for achieving sustainable impacts in value chain and agribusiness development. Approaches likely to increase the sustainability of key outcomes include building research evidence and documenting good practices, promoting partnerships, and forging better linkages between agricultural activities that can address challenges of food and nutrition security and climate change adaptation.

To achieve its objectives and work on the key priority areas identified for the Caribbean region, CTA has designed a range of initiatives that directly target value chain enhancement, as well as actions to facilitate access to key development services, including finance, and promote better engagement with policy and business actors. The Centre continues to build strategic partnerships, with the private sector, producer organisations, regional and global technical institutions and others, aligning capacities and resources to achieve impact.

I. Building sustainable and profitable value chains

Why:
Agriculture continues to provide a livelihood for many people in the Caribbean, especially in rural communities, and makes a critical contribution to food security. Continued decline in the sector could lead to further urbanisation, with the risk of generating social problems associated with rural to urban migration, as well as an increase in national poverty levels. In spite of the challenges, some farmers are still able to access export markets in Europe and there is growing interest from Caribbean tourism related markets in sourcing locally and regionally.

What:
CTA has designed a multi-year project targeting the commitment, resiliency and capabilities of farmers in the Caribbean to accomplish effective, sustainable and profitable activities around priority agricultural products for the export, regional and domestic markets. This aims to strengthen existing linkages to markets and build alliances along the value chain, incorporating private sector actors, farmers' networks, service providers and cooperation agencies, while ensuring that women have equal access to capacity building and income generating opportunities.

The work undertaken alongside selected value chains is expected to contribute to the following objectives: (a) building sustainable and profitable value chains and market linkages for small-scale farmers (SSF) in the Caribbean; (b) supporting SSFs in overcoming key barriers to accessing domestic, tourism related and international markets; (c) increasing SSFs' access to financial resources; (d) enhancing capacities of SSFs to match market demands; (e) improving management of small-scale farms; and (f) strengthening farmers' networks with technical and management capacities to facilitate production-market linkages, with the active participation of women and young people.

These activities are implemented in cooperation with the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN) and are supported by the Sandals Foundation.

Who:
It is expected that around 2,200 small-scale farmers will directly benefit from the initiative, with indirect benefits reaching up to 7,000 farmers.

Currently, the initiatives are mainly focused on producers and stakeholders active in the roots & tubers and fruits & vegetables value chains.

Where:
Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (activities expected to spread to other countries in the coming year).

Impact:
Enhanced capacities of small-scale farmers and support in helping them to overcome key barriers to access domestic and international markets, contributing to increased incomes.


II. Production and marketing for priority value chains in the Caribbean region

Why:
It has been observed that farmers in the region engage in production of less than optimal crops, given the characteristics of their soil and climate, together with domestic and regional market demand. Lack of technical knowledge and access to good quality seeds, coupled with market access limitations, forces many producers to cultivate poorly adapted crops that do not generate sufficient value to enable farmers to improve their livelihoods and make the critical shift from subsistence to commercial farming.

What:
CTA recently launched a project that aims to support and promote production of high value crops, as an alternative to those currently grown by small-scale farmers targeted in areas where potential has been identified. Activities undertaken as part of this initiative seek to create suitable conditions for cultivating high value crops, ensuring that they are environmentally sustainable in the context of climate change. The project also offers training to farmers and facilitates their access to lucrative markets, domestically and abroad.

In line with the above, CTA has developed a project in Haiti, together with ActionAid Haiti, Production Locale Agogo (PLA) and Market Kreyol, with the aim of helping to increase farmers' incomes in the roots & tubers value chain in targeted communities by promoting cultivation of high value crops (e.g. yam, sweet potato and malanga). The project also seeks to: (a) increase production and yields; (b) reduce post-harvest losses; (c) improve product transportation and facilitate access to market at better prices; and (4) empower targeted local economic development organisations.

Who:
Around 600 smallholder farmer households are expected to benefit directly, while indirect beneficiaries include financiers, government policy-makers, decision-makers in international organisations and NGOs.

Where:
Haiti (other countries to be considered).

Impact:
Improved capacities of small-scale farmers to produce and market high value crops, and increased income.


III. Increasing access to agri-finance in the Caribbean

Why:
Access to finance is often cited as one of the main factors that impair the potential of small-scale producers to develop commercial farming activities. Although CTA addresses this issue in most of its activities and initiatives in the region, it could be considered as a separate component of the regional flagship project.

What:
Increasing access to finance requires a comprehensive approach, which involves making the entire value chain attractive to financial institutions. To this end, CTA is currently engaged in two initiatives in the region, which are specifically focused on: (1) improving the competitiveness and inclusiveness of banana & plantain value chains and increasing access to finance for targeted small-scale farmers active in these, and (2) increasing access to finance for agricultural Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in the Caribbean region by assisting them in the use of an online finance access platform (OFAP), while working closely with financial institutions interested in investing in the agricultural sector, and facilitating match-making between them.

These activities are implemented in cooperation with the Banco de Ahorro y Crédito (ADOPEM) and the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST).

Who:
The initiative directly targets about 400 small-scale rural producers in the Dominican Republic, including women, with indirect beneficiaries estimated to include up to 1,500 small-scale farmers.

In addition, various agricultural SMEs active throughout the Caribbean region would benefit from access to financial information and exposure of their business on the online financial platform, promoted and run as part of the initiative supported by CTA.

Where:
Dominican Republic and regionally.

Impact:
Increased access to financial services by small-scale farmers and agricultural SMEs.


IV. ICT support and business development services for value chains and agribusiness

Why:
Supporting and enhancing ICTs and other business development services in the Caribbean is crucial to accelerating development in the value chains targeted, as well as others throughout the region. CTA pays special attention to the many ways in which ICTs can be used to this end, as well as helping to bring young people and entrepreneurs closer to agriculture. In this sector, CTA is partnering with CABA and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), among others.

What:
CTA is currently supporting an initiative to develop a virtual space (online platform) for the exchange of knowledge generated by various activities implemented in the region, including the exchange of good practice case studies and networking opportunities. Targeting Caribbean youth, this initiative aims to establish an agricultural virtual business incubator and resource hub. The idea is to address information and knowledge challenges that entrepreneurs face in developing their capacities and creating successful start-up businesses. Support is also being offered to an innovative mobile ICT solution to common agricultural challenges, offering a rapid way for farmers to exchange knowledge and information.

In the coming years, CTA plans to build on these initiatives and promote integration of ICTs and business development services into different value chains, upgrading efforts across the region.

Who:
Target beneficiaries are farmers, farmers' and regional organisations, young entrepreneurs, value chain actors, etc.

Where:
Online, available throughout the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Impact:
Farmers and regional organisations will be able to access and share knowledge easily, and network to identify opportunities for supply and for tackling common challenges, etc. The planned activities are also expected to contribute to the shaping of an enabling environment for youth engagement and entrepreneurship in agriculture.


V. ICT support and business development services for value chains and agribusiness

Why:
The enabling policy and business environment is critical to achieving sustainable impacts in value chain and agribusiness development. Building research evidence and documenting good practices, promoting Public Private Partnerships and establishing stronger linkages between agricultural activities, food and nutrition security and climate change adaptation, will all contribute to increased sustainability of outcomes.

What:
CTA will continue to support regional events and activities aimed at bringing key stakeholders together in order to foster and encourage open dialogue and advocate for policy improvements related to the agricultural sector. CTA remains committed to supporting well informed, inclusive agricultural policy formulation and implementation in the region. For this reason, the Center regularly organises and supports regional events targeting various key topics, such as nutrition and climate change, as well as agribusiness development.

Who:
Regional policy-making bodies, government agencies, producer organisations, youth groups and research and academic institutions.

Where:
Throughout the Caribbean region.

Impact:
Enhanced knowledge and strengthened capacities of key stakeholders to understand and engage with the policy and business environment.

Download the CTA Flagship Project for the Caribbean

Flagship Project Caribbean Brochure