Small producer....big business!
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IICA. 2010. Small producer....big business! AGRIView, Vol 15, No 2. St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49667
Small producers, i.e., both farmers and food processors, are a big business in agriculture in the Caribbean. Their numbers far outweigh their relatively larger counterparts. Despite the difficult conditions under which they operate, including marginal lands, limited access to credit and the virtual non-existence of risk mitigation mechanisms, the contributions of these micro and small entrepreneurs to economic development, social stability and food security are big by comparison to their size...
This AV focuses on a topic that has been of continuing interest in the agriculture community and general public, that of food security, from the farm to the policy level. The opening article provides a synopsis of the recently initiated regional response to ensure that “all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” This initiative, spearheaded by the CARICOM Secretariat with funding from the Government of Italy and implementation support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is complemented by a number of other initiatives as indicated in the article on Advancing Agriculture in CARICOM. The word ‘advancing’ is used repeatedly throughout the newsletter because it is a key action word in the theme selected for the 9th Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) 2010. This AV also highlights the CWA from its inception in 1999 and promotes the 9th CWA to be held in Grenada in late October. So mark your calendar. The issue of Food Security is also an integral part of the 9th CWA’s theme and on that score, Ian Ivey feels certain that Food prices will soar as he speaks to an AV contributor on the subject of food prices and the capacity and competitiveness of local food production. AV follows this perspective with two contributions on the role and importance of small producers – farmers and fisherfolk to food security, with a view to promoting the acceptance of small producers as the ‘backbone of food security’. This view is, however debatable, given the policy of the former Government of Trinidad and Tobago to promote ‘mega farms’ as a major solution to rising food prices and dependence on imported foods. AV contributor Waheeda Abass provides some insights to the small vs mega farm issue from a Trinidad perspective. While not enough time has elapsed to make a judgement on the relative role and impact of mega farms in Trinidad, there is a widely held view that the expectations have been over stated. AV also took this opportunity to update- for those involved in the network, remind- for those who already knew of its existence and introduce- for those who did not know it existed, the CaRAPN, i.e., Caribbean Regional Agricultural Policy Network, which according to one stakeholder at a 27-30 July Medium Term Strategy meeting, “should contribute to agricultural development in a holistic way, looking at the traditional production and marketing issues, but also adding aspects of the environment, the social dimensions and the global dimensions.” We invite you to read, ponder and contact us for clarification, more information and any contributions you may wish to make on the topics covered or any other topic of interest to agricultural and rural development in the region.