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Opening Remarks by Dr Carla N. Barnett, Secretary-General, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), on the occasion of the virtual launch of the 17th Caribbean Week of Agriculture, “Accelerating Vision 25 by 2025”, 1 September 2023


I extend a warm welcome to the launch of the 17th Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA). Agriculture remains a major pillar of the economies of the Member States of our Caribbean Community (CARICOM).  The CWA is, therefore, a flagship Community event and a premier activity on the Region’s agriculture calendar. 

This year’s theme, “Accelerating Vision 25 x 2025” underscores our ongoing commitment to food and nutrition security, agricultural development, investment, and innovation. With the 25 by 2025 initiative being officially implemented in 2021, we are now at the halfway point. There have been some key achievements, and the groundwork is being laid for additional successes. This year’s CWA is therefore a pivotal one that will seek to put policy into action to effectively build economic resilience and drive inclusive socio-economic development of CARICOM.   

The Week’s activities have been designed to bring together key regional decision-makers from both the public and private sectors, so that stakeholders in agriculture and related sectors can continue to forge a common vision.  Technical sessions on animal and plant health, food safety, fisheries, research, innovation, digitization, youth and women, climate change, and trade facilitation will provide critical insights to inform strategies to effectively facilitate the growth of agriculture in the Region.  Also, the Trade Show component will showcase agri-businesses and services from micro, small and medium, as well as large enterprises to allow business to business engagements and extra-regional trading opportunities.

A Special Meeting of the Council of Trade and Economic Development (COTED) – Agriculture will be held during the Week, where Ministers will address major policy issues, such as increasing agricultural production and trade, agricultural health, and food safety. Our expectation is that engagements from this Week will definitively advance the CARICOM priority of food and nutrition security for our Region.

This virtual launch is the precursor to the first live staging of the CWA in six years. I express the Community’s gratitude to this year’s host, the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and to the institutions and members of the various planning committees, for their combined efforts. This collaboration augurs well for the sector. We need all hands on deck to transform our agriculture into a sustainable, productive, competitive and food secure block, with healthy, nutritious foods for everyone. We must remain focused on reducing the Region’s growing food import bill, and on leveraging the agricultural sector to enhance and empower our women and young people, and our rural communities.

I wish all stakeholders – producers, buyers, government officials, Regional Institutions, and development partners – a very successful Week. I look forward to joining you on 9 October in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for this year’s Caribbean Week of Agriculture.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

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