The Alliance for Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu (The Alliance)
The word, “Alliance” indicates very explicitly the intent and purpose of the organization. That is a grouping of representatives of stakeholders involved in agriculture and rural development. The representatives of Governments, private sector, academia, rural women, youth and technology developers dialogue as EQUALS with the Ministers being primus inter pares.
The words, Wider Caribbean are extremely significant as The Alliance, in its functioning, sets out to dismantle the artificial barriers within the Caribbean that were established during colonial and neo-colonial periods. As such, the constituent members of The Alliance have participants, from English-, French-, and Spanish-speaking countries transcending all previous and even existing administrative or political regimes.
In 1995/96, an internal IICA review of the existing national agricultural organizations shows that, at country level with one exception, the Junta Agroempresarial Dominicana (JAD), were weak, disunited, insignificant and ineffective in the national scenario. In addition, they were either substantially dependent on Governments for their survival or else were considered to be antagonistic. It was also recognized that there were no regional organizations representing agri-entrepreneurs or agriculture in a holistic manner.
Further, the national or regional organizations, were not involved in discussions on issues of relevance to the development of agriculture and rural life taking place at the global level and stakeholders were generally unaware of the detailed implications of same. At the same time, IICA, with financing from IDB, conducted a study on the role of women in Caribbean Agriculture. It concluded inter-alia that, compared to men, women were more stable, more amenable to the use of new technology, and contributed significantly to the labour force in the development of the Region’s agriculture and rural spaces. The result of this was the formation of the Caribbean Network of Rural Women Producers (CNRWP).
In 1999, it was recognized that even though there were the CABA – which was formed in 1996/1997 – CNRWP and PROCICARIBE, there was no formal access to the key decision-makers. Further, even though IICA was the common factor, there was no “mechanism” for them to meet and develop a common vision.
Another study was commissioned which validated the need for a “mechanism” for all the major stakeholders (including the Ministers of Agriculture) to meet but noted the concerns of some countries that the Forum of Ministers (which was included in the “mechanism”) could duplicate the Standing Committee of Ministers of Agriculture (SCMA). However, when the SCMA was removed from CARICOM institutional infrastructure, this concern disappeared and in October 2000, The Alliance was launched in Kingston, Jamaica.
Constituent Members of The Alliance for Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu
- Forum of Ministers
- Caribbean Agriculture Forum for Youth (CAFY)
- Caribbean Network of Rural Women Producers (CANROP)
- Caribbean Agri-business Association (CABA)
- Caribbean Council of Higher Education in Agriculture (CACHE)
The Forum of Ministers of Agriculture was conceptualised and established in 2000 as a mechanism to facilitate dialogue, consensus building and commitment on policies and programmes for agriculture throughout the region.
Through their individual and collective actions, the members contribute to the transformation of the agricultural system and ensure its economic, social and environmental viability and sustainability.
The Caribbean Agricultural Forum for Youth (CAFY) is a key mechanism for the involvement of youth in commercial agriculture and for the sharing of experiences, policy dialogue, and strategy development to foster increased involvement of youth in agriculture in a qualitative and quantitative manner.
CAFY also seeks to promote increased innovation among youth, particularly rural youth, to achieve greater development in rural areas for the broad based sustainable development of agriculture.
The Caribbean Network of Rural Women Producers (CANROP) is the umbrella organization that embraces national chapters of rural women’s associations in the Caribbean. The regional network is a non-profit organization and was formally launched in 1999, to create a single entity of already existing associations of rural women producers.
These associations have been established in response to the need to equip women with technical, administrative and entrepreneurial skills as a means to improving their socio-economic status and create employment in the rural areas in which they live.
The Caribbean Agri-Business Association (CABA) represents the Caribbean Region’s first agribusiness association. CABA was founded as an integrated and vital agricultural mechanism to provide a collective negotiating voice for the agribusiness sub-sector and further stimulate agribusiness growth and trade in the Region.
CABA is dedicated to promoting a common agribusiness interest through concentrated and consolidated action, and to be an effective advocate of agribusiness interest to governments in the region.
The Caribbean Council for Higher Education in Agriculture (CACHE) was formally launched as a non-profit organization, committed to fostering human resource development for sustainable transformation of agriculture in the Caribbean.
CACHE’s agenda focuses on aspects related to quality and improvement of educational programmes for agriculture; promoting and facilitating models and systems for self-evaluation and accreditation programmes; and the establishment of a regional programme for evaluation and accreditation as well as training a cadre of specialist throughout the region.
Procicaribe was established in 1998 by CARDI and IICA in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI). Its purpose is to establish an effective networking system amongst members of the public/private sectors, NGOs, farmers’ groups and other stakeholders in the Caribbean.
Procicaribe also provides an institutional framework for the integration and coordination of agricultural research at the national and regional levels with linkages to international organisations.