The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture is proud and honoured to join with the Government of Barbados, the CARICOM Secretariat, CARDI, FAO and the CTA to host the Fifteenth Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA).
The theme of this year’s CWA – “Strengthening Agriculture for a Healthier Future in the Region” – responds to the critical issue of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs) in the Caribbean Region, and its tremendous toll on youth, labour productivity, and the overall sustainability of our economies. This CWA therefore provides a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to reassess and reflect on the important role of the Agri-food sector in contributing to food & nutrition security and healthy lifestyles, not only through increased production of safe and nutritious food, but also through improving prospects for trade and creating healthier economies.
The Caribbean Week of Agriculture also represents a strategic platform for strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships with key Agri-Food system actors and donors in the Caribbean, for creating actionable recommendations for stimulating increased investments in the sector, and for triggering increased political commitment for the creation of enabling policy environments for sustainable food systems.
The Institute’s new Medium Term Plan (MTP) for 2018 – 2022 has identified “Agricultural Health, Food Safety and Food Quality” as one of its five primary areas of focus and this along with the other áreas of focus are expected to contribute to a strengthened agricultural sector to achieve a healthier future for the región, in keeping with the theme of the CWA. The MTP also recognizes the unique and special circumstances that exist in the Caribbean and therefore provides for the implementation of a Differentiated Strategy for the region that seeks to build sustainable food production systems and a robust and resilient agricultural sector, firmly rooted in the rural sector with youth and women producers, that will in turn contribute to much needed economic diversification and growth as well as to improved health outcomes in the countries of the Caribbean.
The Institute will serve as a bridge, providing access to relevant hemispheric networks and platforms as well as to its technical resources in all five technical programmes, in order to generate horizontal cooperation, and foster progress in achieving agricultural and rural development and food and nutrition security in the region.
The overwhelming evidence for the impact that a strong Agri-Food sector could have on the health of the Caribbean people, and for creating wealth in our economies can no longer be ignored. It is now well past the time to deliver. Success requires joint efforts to generate the synergies needed to tackle the ever-increasing challenges we face. Let us therefore use this opportunity of the CWA to renew our collaboration with a common purpose to improve the lives of all in our region.
We wish to thank the Government of Barbados for hosting CWA 2018, and we extend our very best wishes to all for a productive and successful CWA 2018.