Caribbean agriculture moves forward
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CTA. 1997. Caribbean agriculture moves forward. Spore 67. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48626
With the move towards free trade and globalization of markets, the economic survival and development of many Caribbeancountries may depend on their membership of Caricom (Caribbean Common Market) - a regional trading bloc of around sixmillion...
With the move towards free trade and globalization of markets, the economic survival and development of many Caribbean countries may depend on their membership of Caricom (Caribbean Common Market) - a regional trading bloc of around six million people. Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago are among the 14 member states that form Caricom and who have agreed be part of the Free Trade of the Americas to be achieved by 2005. To attain this, Caricom has stated that private sector investment in agriculture will be essential, and with the high levels of imported food into many of the member states, a move towards self-sufficiency, whenever possible, is of critical importance. Traditionally dependent on rice and sugar products, Guyana has proven its potential as one of the major food suppliers of the Caribbean. In the last year the economy is expected to have grown by 6.6%, reducing their external debt burden by 67%. The growth can be attributed to the recovery of sugar, a major export earner, and further increases in rice and forestry outputs. However, the rapid growth in non-traditional products, such as fruit, vegetables and seafoods has also made an important economic contribution. Shrimp exports, for example, are worth more than US$2 billion a year, but the greatest increase has been provided by the rice industry. As the only producer of rice and therefore the 'ricebowl' of the region, the rice industry in Guyana has responded well to incentives, resulting in a growth of 36% in output in 1995, increasing export earnings by US$22 million. Through the Williams Group, who own and manage many leading companies in Barbados, 10% of beef and 45% of its milk requirement are now supplied by their 1,000-strong herd of cattle. Other agricultural concerns include chickens, sugar cane and a strong horticultural interest in bulbs imported from Holland which they believe could turn Barbados into a successful flower exporter in the future. In Trinidad & Tobago, the government and individual companies are concentrating on expanding agriculture and future growth will come from expansion of added-value products. Raw sugar will be converted into ethanol and granulated sugar; cocoa will be rehabilitated; citrus fruits will be processed for soft drinks; and coconut cream and milk will be produced for export. Additional potential lies in floriculture, exotic fruits and fish-farming. Caribbean supplement The Times 29 October 1996 UNIMEDIA Ltd PO Box 4598 London SW 1 Y 6XE, UK