St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda. 28 May 2018 (IICA). The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) Delegation in Antigua and Barbuda held its annual accountability seminar, where its major achievements and interventions in the agriculture milieu were presented to its primary stakeholders of the agricultural sector of this country. Senior officers from the Ministry of Agriculture, technical cooperation partners, farmers’ organizations and national authority personnel attended the activity.
The Institute has contributed by supporting the rehabilitation and revitalization of the agricultural sector post Hurricane Irma, developing sustainable agriculture practices, linking agro-processing Small and Medium Enterprises’ to markets, improving capacities in production and productivity, and supporting and strengthening producer groups in governance.
Newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Dean Jonas, acknowledged IICA’s contribution to farmers and he lauded that the Institute broaden its programme on post harvesting strategies to strengthen dialogues and greater involvement in agriculture.
“The Ministry of Agriculture is pleased with its collaborative activities with IICA and I am looking forward to continued support for the Ministry’s new initiatives,” the Minister remarked.
Vegetable producer representing the Team Fresh Producer Group (TFPC) and Anointed Farm, Neil Gomes, shared his testimonial highlighting the contribution IICA made towards the strengthening of the group as well as himself as a farmer.
Gomes reflected on the contribution made through the APP Project in providing the group with harvesting crates to improve and minimize post-harvesting loss. He also provided a pictorial presentation of the current experimental trail under the Family Farming Flagship utilizing the vermi-composting products on tomato.
IICA Specialist, Craig Thomas, contemplated some of the main challenges affecting agriculture, like strategic planning and coordination among supporting agriculture and rural developing agencies, an important component to assist the agricultural communities.
“Funding is very limited and there is a need for closer collaboration among agencies and the Ministry of Agriculture in activities can be executed based on prioritization; this way funds will be utilized in an more effective and coordinated manner. As technicians, we have a responsibility to do all within our power to strategize a plan to harness this going forward”, he emphasized.
A short clip of a video prepared by IICA on the recent rehabilitation and revitalization projects post Hurricane Irma affecting Antigua and Barbuda [PS1] was shared. This video emphasized on the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in Barbuda and the strategic activities implemented in support of the sector.
Some of the actions implemented by IICA in Antigua and Barbuda during 2017 are:
- submission and execution of three projects to assist with the rehabilitation and revitalization of the agriculture sector for Antigua and Barbuda,
- assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture with the Agriculture Sector Assessment post Hurricane Irma,
- implementation of the IICA Resilience Flagship Project: Degrading Soil,
- contribution to the productivity and production of roots and tubers in Barbuda, and
- support to producer groups in governance.
The IICA Delegation also took the opportunity to deliver several publications such as Characterisation of Family Farms in the Caribbean : A Study of Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a publication under the Family Farm Flagship. In addition, the Outlook for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Americas 2017-2018 and the 2017 Annual Report were presented to the Minister.
The accountability seminar is in keeping with the Institute’s ethics of transparency and accountability to our stakeholders and partners in common pursuit of developing a sustainable agriculture and rural sector in the country.
IICA is the specialized agency for agriculture in the Inter-American system, with a mission to encourage, promote and support its 34 Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.