Near the end of October the region will see a return of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture. (CWA) The big question is will it be another reunion of agricultural stakeholders?
The answer: yes, it will.
Fortunately through various activities Tech4agri has been able to attend three of the past CWA events. And we have realized something. CWA is the place to reconnect with agri stakeholders across the region.
Persons with whom you may have worked with in the past, done business with or even gone to school with are likely to be there. Those in particular who have been dedicated to agriculture not only in their countries but also at the national level and through regional initiatives view CWA has the opportunity progress towards greater regional development.
Ideally ministers of agriculture meet to discuss, plan and implement policies and strategies for collaboration, while pertinent and chronic issues that face the region are tackled through the sharing of knowledge and experiences, with the goal of offering a myriad of solutions to the aforementioned.
This is the ideal outcome.
While some of this intended outcome actually happens, there is no real way to know just how well the CWA does in progressing the region as to our knowledge there is no evaluation of the event. And if there is we would like to know about it.
Regardless there are benefits to participating as with any conference, interaction and networking leads to business which leads to progress. Healthy business activity is necessary for the survival of any industry.
Therefore the return of CWA is very much welcomed by many. It’s theme, investing in Food and Agriculture is a difficult topic given that access to credit and finances has been one of the chronic issues facing stakeholders at all levels across the region.
The Government of Cayman Islands in collaboration with the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) Secretariat and other partners, including the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA), is organizing the event, from 24 – 28 October 2016 in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
“This is an (sometimes) annual event that brings together key decision-makers and stakeholders from the public and private sectors that are active in the Caribbean agricultural development space. It provides a platform for these stakeholders to acknowledge the importance of agriculture to the economic, social and environmental stability of the region, while also giving them the opportunity to dialogue and establish a common purpose towards repositioning agriculture and enhancing rural life.”
What to look forward to?
Every CWA comes with a marketplace. We highly recommend that you find the time to make a visit. grassroots communities, innovators, start ups, and budding agribusinesses of all kinds and sizes can be usually found in the marketplace.
One would be impressed with the displays as well as offered products. For those of you seeking regional business partnerships it is the perfect place to network.
This year also marks the first year that CWA will have a social reporting team. We are particularly excited for this as Tech4agri has been selected to coordinate and train 15 agriyouth.
The power of social media despite being a recognized tool by many other sectors, has yet to be fully utilized in the regional agriculture sector. Most present among businesses that offer food products, social media has slowly been on the uptake up the over the last few years.
Food innovators understand that people “buy with their eyes” leading to many running their businesses via social media and maintaining an online presence.
This is positive however for the agriculture sector and other related fields this likely not be the case. Regardless social media proliferation is on the up and up!
This training represents a forward progression for the sector as those who benefit from the training can then improve the circulation of knowledge which in turn, benefits individuals and other stakeholders alike.
And lastly, one would be curious as to what sessions or workshops are taking place. As a stakeholder in the sector we are very much open to the theme, given its difficult purview.