CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) – The European Union is financing a project aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of small-scale coconut farmers by identifying market opportunities, creating synergies between national and regional programmes and improving access to advisory services for improved production.
The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) in partnership with the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) and the EU are implementing the €3.5 million (One Euro=US$1.29 cents) project.
The project will be undertaken in nine Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries.
CARDI said that 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 1980’s. Principal among these has been the loss of international markets for traditional products, loss of consumer confidence, ageing populations and growing pest and disease problems.”
CARDI said it welcomed 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.
St Lucia is hosting a two-day workshop that has attracted delegates from Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines.