Message from Michael Hailu

Director of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)

CTA is delighted once again to join forces with its partners to support the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA). We are grateful to the Government of Suriname for hosting CWA 2014 in Paramaribo from 6 to 12 October 2014

The theme of this year's CWA, 'Transforming Caribbean Agriculture through Family Farming,' is not only timely, given that 2014 is the International Year of Family Farming, but is highly relevant to the region's family farms that contribute so much to its economy and way of life.

For many years, CTA has been supporting Caribbean agriculture through its work with various partners in the region - from facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogue on priority agricultural and rural development issues to supporting capacity building, information sharing and awareness building initiatives. The joint workshops on three main streams of work – value chain development, climate change/climate smart agriculture and policy and strategy for agricultural revitalisation and food and nutrition security – will focus our deliberations on key priority issues of concern for the region.

We are also taking the opportunity to highlight our efforts to encourage youth engagement in agriculture and the role ICTs can play in boosting agricultural and rural development. During CWA, CTA will showcase the finalists of the Science and Agriculture Film and Video Competition and ICT applications developed within the framework of the AgriHack Talent Caribbean Competition – both interventions aimed at bringing youth into agriculture. We will also show films of participatory mapping exercises from Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, and we will launch the Regional Synthesis Report of ICT's Uptake and Usage in Agricultural Value Chains in the Caribbean, a result of a joint effort between CTA and CARDI.

As in previous years, CTA is sponsoring several participants from the Caribbean and a few from other regions as a way to encourage South-South exchange of knowledge and experience and to promote collaboration among regions.

CTA will do its part to ensure that CWA continues to be a premiere event in addressing key challenges and opportunities to transform agriculture as a vehicle for sustainable development in the Caribbean.

Best wishes to all for a productive and fulfilling learning experience at CWA 2014.