ACP Agricultural Commodities Workshop Ends on Successful Note


The Caribbean leg of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) workshop on agricultural commodities concluded in Montego Bay recently, with organizers promising to return to the region within four to six months to put in effect the agreed action plan.
The three-day consultation of the All ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme, a European Union-funded initiative, brought together some 90 participants from the public and private sectors of 15 ACP countries, who examined opportunities and constraints besetting Caribbean agriculture.
Of the numerous areas requiring technical support identified, more than 12 were set aside for further investigation.
These include requests to: develop full-fledged commodity strategies for specialty coffees in the region; strengthen research and development across the entire value chain of the investigated crops as part of the drive to increase productivity and profitability; address the market information deficit hindering agricultural producers; strengthen the business and organizational skills of farmer organizations; implement regional risk mitigation mechanisms to cover both weather vagaries and excessive price fluctuations. In summarizing the proceedings of the three-day workshop, Executive Director of the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), Dr. Arlington Chesney, underlined the need to establish linkages with ongoing programmes within the region and to prioritize areas as identified as requiring support under the All ACP Programme.
One of the criteria for prioritization will be contribution of the proposed support to poverty reduction.
Director of the co-ordination unit managing the EU-funded programme, Pierre Berthelot, added that in line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, attention would be given to the “complementarity of proposed interventions with recent or ongoing development efforts.”
“Indeed, a major value-added of the All ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme is that it promotes coordination among development partners by bringing together five major international organizations as implementing agencies for the programme. The region will be party to this prioritization process in line with the participatory approach of the programme,” Mr. Berthelet noted.
He said that the workshop is merely the beginning of this participatory dialogue, which “will continue over the next few months to firm up the regional work plan and will be central to implementation as well.”

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