Overview of the region

The Caribbean is a unique region in the world. It is a diverse, multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-culinary, multi-music and multilingual region. It is strategically positioned between North and South America, with Central America to the West and the Atlantic Ocean to the East. The region is located in the tropical belt, and its countries enjoy arable land and beautiful natural beaches.

Key takeaways

  • The Caribbean is located in a key geographic position: between South and North America and across the Atlantic from Europe.
  • Current major trade sectors that governments want to diversify away from include tourism, bananas, sugar, rum, and oil and gas. Sustainable agriculture is a sector Caribbean governments would like to expand.
  • Selected governments have started issuing rebates on imports of inputs that go towards agriculture.
  • Various trade agreements exist between countries in the Caribbean and the EU, the UK, and the US.
  • Weather and soil permit the growth of sweet potato all year long, compared to other countries where production is more limited.
  • There is strong local and international financial institution presence in the region.

Some figures

population caribbean defpopulation caribbean figure5
* Thursday, July 6, 2017, based on the latest United Nations estimates

The Caribbean population is equivalent to 0.58% of the total world population.

The population density in the Caribbean is 194 per Km2

The total land area is 226,035 Km2 (87,273 sq. miles)

71.2% of the population is urban (31,157,092 people in 2017)

The median age in the Caribbean is 30.5 years


The Caribbean Forum of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States

The Caribbean Forum of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (CARIFORUM) consists of 15 states: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

caribbean large 

The 3 main languages spoken are Spanish (56%), French (28%), and English (15%)

Production of fresh sweet potatoes in selected Caribbean countries

The total production within the CARIFORUM region (without Haiti) amounted to 98,361.5 tonnes in 2014. The Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines produced ±95% of this amount. Sweet potato production in the same countries increased by 35% from 2007–2014, with the Dominican Republic and Jamaica leading by an order of magnitude.

Common Products

Local governments are trying to diversify their product offering which is currently dominated by:

natural gas2



Download your Investment Guide here

The Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST) has partnered with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) to develop an investment guide for the sweet-potato sector in the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) region for financial institutions (FIs), with financial support from the Intra-ACP Agricultural Policy Programme (APP).


Contact CTA

PO Box 380
6700 AJ Wageningen
The Netherlands
E-mail CTA
Visiting address:
Agro Business Park 2
6708 PW Wageningen
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)317 467100
Fax: +31 (0)317 460067
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Contact FAST

Suite 801
1255 Blvd. Robert Bourassa
Montreal, QC
H3B 3W3
Tel: +1-514-759-6626
Fax: +1-514-759-6603
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