Castries, St Lucia — As the demand for coconut products skyrockets, the coconut industry has significant potential to contribute to economic development and poverty reduction in Caribbean countries.
The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) in partnership with the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) and the European Union (EU) have implemented a 3.5 million Euro project to develop the coconut industry in the Caribbean.
The project seeks to enhance the competitiveness of small-scale coconut farmers by identifying market opportunities, creating synergies between national and regional programs and improving access to advisory services for improved production.
The project is being financed by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund. Implementation will be done in nine CARIFORUM countries.
Within recent years the demand for coconuts and coconut bi- products has skyrocketed on both the regional and world markets. Many Caribbean countries have been unable to satisfy this growing demand due to setbacks experienced by industries in the early 1980s. Principal among these have been the loss of international markets for traditional products, loss of consumer confidence, ageing populations and growing pest and disease problems. CARDI welcomes the support to revitalize the coconut industry in the Caribbean because of its “significant potential to contribute to economic development and poverty reduction in the benefiting countries.
Phase one of the project will engage national stakeholders in formulating road maps for market-led development of the coconut and coconut products sector, as well as to agree on implementation plans.
CARDI and ITC will be hosting value chain development road mapping workshops to address critical areas such as market options, production and productivity, support services and the policy environment among others.
A regional workshop will be held in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, on April 28 – 29. The workshop will comprise representatives from Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia.