The CTA and its partners will held the second regional Briefing in the Caribbean on “Strengthening the Caribbean agri-food private sector: challenges for SMEs in the agri-food sector in the Caribbean”on 18-19th October at the occasion of the Caribbean Agricultural Week. This Briefing will discuss the challenges that the Caribbean private sector faces in the context of the financial and food crises as well as the resulting increased demand for agricultural products. While looking at the broader economic environment,it will examine the key issues involved on value chains and clusters. Access to finance by the private sector has always remained a major challenge and SMEs still struggle to access finance due to some stringent requirements by commercial banks and the existing and potential financing mechanisms in support of the private sector at regional level will be reviewed.
Monday 18th October 2010
Introductory remarks- Chair Dr Arlinton Chesney, Executive Director, CARDI
Michael Hailu, Director of CTA, Guy Stinglhamber, Director, COLEACP/PIP, Representative of the Minister of Environment, Trade and Export Development, Minister of Agriculture, Prime Minister, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture (Vote of Thanks)*
Objectives and Programme, Isolina Boto, Head of the CTA Brussels Office, [Presentation]
Panel 1 – Key challenges for SMEs in the agri-food sector in the Caribbean
This session will discuss the challenges that the Caribbean private sector faces in the context of the financial and food crises as well as the resulting increased demand for agricultural products. While looking at the broader economic environment, the panel will examine the key issues involved on value chains and clusters.
-Clusters, Value Chains and Technological Capabilities Building, Robert Reid, Agribusiness Specialist, IICA, [Presentation]
-The importance of Agri-Food to nutrition and health, Dr. Ballayram, Head of the Food Security Unit, Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI), [Presentation]
Panel 2 – Financial and technical instruments to support the agri-food sector
Access to finance by the private sector has always remained a major challenge and SMEs still struggle to access finance due to some stringent requirements by commercial banks. This session will discuss the existing and potential financing mechanisms in support of the private sector at regional level.
-Opportunities in new Agribusiness, Prakash Dhanrajh, Managing Director, MICROFIN
-EC funding under the Cotonou Agreement, Percival Marie, Cariforum Secretariat
-Credit unions expansion in benefit of private enterprise development in the Caribbean, Melvin Edwards, Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU)[Presentation]
Tuesday 19th October 2010
Panel 3 – Repositioning Caribbean agriculture
There are a number of options of future strategic agri-food sectors to develop which promote integrated approaches and strengthen links between key sectors in the region such as agriculture, tourism and environment. To achieve this key research and regulatory policy challenges would need to be addressed.
-Acquisition and use of technological advances in the agri-food production and processing industry, Dr. Audia Barnett, Executive Director, Scientific Research Council, Jamaica
-Linking Agriculture and Tourism in processing and agro-tourism, Ena Harvey, specialist in agro-tourism, IICA
-Investment in Agricultural Research development and innovation to increase business performance and competitiveness, Maurice Wilson, Head Resource Mobilisation and Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, CARDI for CFC, [Presentation]
-The use of technology to improve competitiveness of SMEs in the agribusiness sector, Dr. André Gordon, Managing Director, Technological Solutions Limited, Jamaica[Presentation]
-Strengthening entrepreneurs groups to influence policy design and implementation, Jethro T. Greene, Chief Coordinator, Caribbean Farmers Network (CAFAN)
- Leading non-traditional agricultural products: new opportunities, Vassel Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Trinidad and Tobago Agribusiness Association (TTABA)
Focus on Caribbean exports of fresh food and vegetables
-New opportunities for the agrifood sector in the Caribbean: how to access to the new PIP Programme, Guy Stinglhamber, Director, COLEACP/PIP [Presentation]
Strengthening the Caribbean agri-food private sector: the role of Media
The conclusions and key points of each panel will be shared with media and journalists.