The Agricultural sector in CARICOM is framed by the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. This Treaty provides for the Community Agriculture Policy (Articles 56 and 57), Marketing of Agriculture Products (Article 59), Fisheries Management and Development (Article 60) and Forest Management and Development (Article 61). The Policy was adopted by the Thirty-Eighth Special Meeting of the COTED Agriculture (October 2011, Dominica), which mandated the development of an Action Plan for its implementation.
The Agricultural Policy lays the basis for transforming the agricultural sector to play a meaningful role in the Single Market and Economy and to contribute to improving food and nutrition security in the Region. It seeks to increase agricultural exports; satisfy domestic demand for food; establish links with other sectors, particularly tourism; increase employment; and reduce poverty. In this context, the Policy promotes:
- the use of science, technology and research in agricultural development;
- human resource development;
- efficient cultivation of traditional and non-traditional products;
- increased production and greater diversification of processed agricultural products; reform of land use and tenure; fisheries management and development.
Food and Nutrition Security - to address production and stability related gaps in the Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy (RFNSP) was adopted by COTED in 2010. It establishes that Food Security as existing when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
Production-Trade/Value Chains – to emphasise increased production and trade by cross border investments, public/private sector partnerships, Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) regime and standards, intra-regional trade, clusters and investment, agro-processing and sectoral linkages;
Sustainable development of natural resources - to ensure the efficient use of the Region’s non-renewable natural resources and its proper management in the production system through utilisation of environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural practices.
Rural modernization and youth programmes – to give special emphasis to improve the quality of life of rural communities through increased opportunities in agri-business, strengthening institutions supporting agribusiness and community development and building social capital.
A modern agricultural knowledge and information system – to promote an agriculture knowledge and information system that links all stakeholders and provides for sharing of information with special emphasis on Market Information Systems (Database, Production, Statistics,) and capacity building (research and development, technology transfer and extension, human resource development, farmer absorptive capacity, regional clearing house for information, information, communication technology (ICT), Advocacy and public awareness/information).