During the week of October 8 to 12, 2018, the Government of Barbados will be hosting the fifteenth (15th) Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) under the theme: “Strengthening Agriculture for a Healthier Future in the Region”. First held in Trinidad and Tobago in 1999, CWA takes place under the aegis of the Alliance for Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu, referred to as “The Alliance”.
The members of the Secretariat for the Alliance are:
- The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
- The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
- The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI)
- The ACP-EU Technical Centre for Cooperation on Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA)
Held annually in October, this regional event provides a forum for Ministers of Agriculture, planners, regional organisations and other key agricultural stakeholders in the public and private sectors of the Region, to meet to discuss major issues affecting the agricultural sector in the region. The major objective is to derive solutions targeted at the transformation and repositioning of agriculture in the region, as well as at improving its contribution to supporting the economic, social and environmental stability of CARICOM Member States.
During the five-day period of the event, the opportunity is taken by regional organisations to host a number of workshops, which will be held simultaneously throughout each day. Among the topics to be covered under the Technical Workshops to be conducted, will be the following:
- Development of the Regional Coconut Industry.
- Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship
- Climate Resilience in the Agriculture and Fisheries Sectors
- Small Ruminants
- The School Feeding Programme.
A series of Ministerial meetings will also be convened during the hosting of CWA 2018. Ministers of Agriculture will meet over a three-day period to discuss key issues affecting the agricultural sectors in the region and to receive reports on action being taken by the various regional agencies, organisations and NGOs to assist with alleviating identified constraints to the development of the sector. The major meeting to be held during this Week will be the Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) – Agriculture, which will be preceded by the Officials Meeting of COTED. Meetings of the Governing Bodies of CARDI, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) will also convened.
There is also a meeting of the Alliance, which offers the opportunity for the presentation of papers by experts in the field on issues surrounding the Theme for the week. Members of the stakeholder groups of the Alliance, such as the Caribbean Agricultural Forum for Youth Forum (CAFY) and the Caribbean Network of Rural Women Producers (CANROP), also convene their annual meetings during CWA and these NGOS may be allocated time to deliver their respective reports to the Ministers during the Alliance Meeting.
In addition to the convening of meetings, seminars and workshops, the host country also hosts an agricultural trade show and exhibition, at which local and regional agricultural and agro-processed products, as well as innovative technology and equipment, are displayed. It is anticipated that this exhibition will attract agriculturalists and entrepreneurs from throughout the region, who will be offered the opportunity to promote a wide range of their products and services. Booths will also be set up by the various regional organisations, where visitors will have the opportunity to seek advice and gather information on the services offered by these organisations.
A number of field trips will also be organised to various agricultural enterprises of interest, to showcase rural and value chain developments, and the state of play of agriculture within the country.
The hosting of a number of social events will also form part of the night-time events to be held during the week.