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Identifying and expanding prospects for local agribusinesses is a key focus of Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., during his current official visit to Washington in the United States (US).  

On Thursday (November 17), the Minister participated in the 24th annual Caribbean American Business Dialogue, which was held from November 17 to 18. The forum, which aligned with the Ministry’s ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ programme, aimed to identify improvements to be made in agribusiness value chains, to foster sustainable economic development. Mr. Charles said he intended to use the opportunity to secure advantageous linkages and partnerships. 

“By securing these relationships, we will bolster our ability to achieve food security, increase economic growth and enhance the livelihoods of our farmers and fisher folk,” the Minister said in a statement. 

“The Ministry will continue our tireless efforts to address food security concerns and help to fast-track national and regional efforts to achieve decent jobs and sustainable economies, and stem rural to urban migration,” he added. The forum focused on leveraging existing business opportunities, while reducing challenges.  

During the sessions, participants shared insights on how to create, align and leverage financial, technical, policy and market-expanding resources. This, in order to develop innovative and inclusive agribusiness models for the Caribbean region, through increased collaboration with the United States. The annual forum was organised under Invest Smart Caribbean’s ‘Farm the Future’ initiative, launched in 2013.  

The initiative aims to promote inclusive prosperity for the Caribbean region, through increased focus on and action for SMART policies, programmes and projects.  

These measures are intended to address challenges and advance opportunities for the long-term success of the agribusiness sector in the Caribbean.  

Members of the roundtable included congressional representatives such as Congresswoman Maxine Waters, a longstanding advocate for financial access for the Caribbean, and Congressman Gregory Meeks, whose Office hosted the forum.  

Other participants included thought leaders from US agencies, private sector companies, academia and development practitioners, who discussed strategies and options for energising agribusiness in the Caribbean. 

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