Agriculture in the News February 2010
Issues Affecting Caribbean Agriculture PSC#: HQ/005/10
Calls for a Caribbean strategy to deal with Black
INSIDE THIS ISSUE Sigatoka
1 Roots & Tubers: Cassava Caribbean Daily News – 6 February 2010:
2 Cereals & Grain Legumes: Rice The Guyana government is calling for a Caribbean approach
to deal with the deadly Black Sigatoka disease now
3 Hot Peppers affecting the plantain and banana industry in the region.
3 Fruits & Vegetables: Bananas Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said the approach to
dealing with the fungal disease would require the support
4 Agro-energy and cooperation of all including researchers, regional
institutions and farmers.
5 Soil & Water
Persaud has written several regional agencies as well as the
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General,
6 Climate Change
Edwin requesting that resources be made available to mount
a regional response to the disease.
9 Agricultural Development
See Fruits & Vegetables: Bananas, page 3
17 Economic Situation
18 Professional Associations
Agriculture in the News is a monthly newsletter which
provides a compilation of selected news articles on issues
affecting agriculture in the Caribbean region. Articles from
Newspapers, Online News Service Agencies, Newsletters and
Press Releases are featured.
For copies of documents cited, visit the web address or source
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Roots & Tubers: Cassava
Cassava the way to go – farmers told
Trinidad and Tobago Guardian – 23 Feb 2010, A8: http://guardian.co.tt/news/general/2010/02/23/cassava-way-go-farmers-told
T&T Agribusiness Association (TTABA) Chief Executive Officer Vassel Stewart told local cassava farmers there are
great opportunities for them to explore in China. Stewart also encouraged them to get more involved in cassava
cultivation since there was potential for the crop to become the leading agricultural product in T&T. “Within two to three
years we will have a cassava industry that will begin to replace the sugar industry,” Stewart said at the commissioning of
a Planti Centre Bazuca 1 hydraulic cassava planter and a harvester in Freeport on Friday.
“There is potential for development,” he said, explaining that the Government of China was tapping the resources of
countries where cassava could be mass produced for feed, bio-fuels and a range of industrial products. “People from
China are going to countries and farmers who are prepared to produce cassava on contract for the Government of China,
so it points to where cassava can go,” Stewart said. Focusing on the development of the local industry, Stewart said the
association had plans to introduce cassava flour on a large scale.
“We’re seeking to reduce our consumption of rice and flour…cassava is a more healthy product. We’re going to make it
available to you in a variety of forms,” Stewart said. Apart from the introduction of cassava flour, Stewart said they were
working with the Bakers Association with the aim of introducing a mixed cassava product for baking bread and other
bakery products. He pointed out the association planned to open an agro-processing plant. In his address to the audience,
which included Agriculture Minister Arnold Piggot, Stewart said the association would embark on an aggressive
programme to encourage the national community to consume more local products, including cassava and sweet potatoes
which are under production on a large scale at the moment.
TTABA chairman Winston Borrell welcomed the mechanisation in the cassava industry. He said the planter and the
harvester were “only one aspect of the new and improved technologies that we will be introducing in this cassava
industry. “Similar machines will be introduced for other products under the national agribusiness initiative,” he added.
He said the TTABA also bought a cassava planter and a harvester and would be offering it to farmers for rent.
Cassava production at Tamarind Farm to increase
Jamaica Information Service (JIS): 4 Feb 2010:
A year and a half after starting a Cassava Production Project at the Tamarind Farm Correctional Centre, the Department
of Correctional Services is planning to increase the current acreage under production to 90 acres, due to the success of
the project. The project, which engages 22 inmates in cassava cultivation, began with an initial 15 acres but the area
under cultivation has since increased. Overseer of farms at the St. Catherine-based prison, Wesley Francis, shared that
there are currently five acres ready for reaping and another 30 acres at varying stages of maturity. To date, 44,000 pounds
of cassava have been reaped and sold to companies such as Twickenham Bammies, St. Catherine; Bloomfield Great
House, Mandeville; and Jamaica Producers in St. Mary. Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, who
visited Tamarind Farm yesterday (February 3) to get a first-hand look at the progress of the project, said he is pleased
that the Correctional Services Department had the foresight to capitalise on producing a crop for a market that has been
largely underserved. He described participants in the project as "pioneers". Commissioner of Corrections, June Spence
Jarrett, said that the project is a very effective rehabilitation tool, which has provided inmates with a skill as well as a
means of providing for their families. "They receive a stipend, which is quite important to them. From this, they send it
back to their families to support the children and other members, who are dependent on them. What we are trying here is
to make sure that we turn the uselessness that society claims they are into usefulness," she stated. Mrs. Spence Jarrett
informed that the inmates can also access rehabilitation grants to start their own projects when they are released, once
they meet certain criteria. The cassava project is being implemented by the Correctional Services Production Company
(COSPROD) with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with the support of the Ministry of
Agriculture and Fisheries.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 1
Cereals & Grain Legumes: Rice
Technology boost for rice industry in 2010
GINA, Georgetown, 10 Feb 2010
Agriculture contributes significantly to Guyana's Gross Domestic Product. Rice which is a large contributor, last year
experienced an increase of 9.2 percent with a production of 359,789 tonnes. This resulted in the industry securing its
second highest annual production of all time and also its second highest yield ever. Such success would not have been
possible without prudent management of the industry by Government, key agencies and farmers. The Ministry of
Agriculture in 2009 undertook the purchasing of technology, the implementation of the farmers' education programme
and the amendment of the Rice Factories Act. The sum of $400M was provided to the Guyana Rice Development Board
in light of the decline in export prices. To increase the productivity of the sector in 2010, Government will continue to
set high standards. It will expand operations in a technological environment and educate farmers on crop cultivation and
the proper utilisation of technologies. In addition, operations will be governed by the Rice Factories Act which will
facilitate the smooth flow of business transactions between farmers and millers. To modernise the industry in the
Berbice district, Government has earmarked the construction of seed and drying facilities. Construction of the seed
facility will commence this year with a budgetary allocation of $40M and the drying facility will be built at a cost of
$16M. Twelve additional drying facilities will be built in Regions 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Rice farmers had agreed to the setting
up of the facilities out of the $400M fund approved by President Bharrat Jagdeo in 2009 to assist them. In the utilisation
of all resources available, the laser leveller purchased in 2009 will be instrumentally employed to foster water
management and reduce weed infestation thereby further enhancing paddy yields. Government will focus resources on
the expansion of the farmers' education programme. Last year the programme which took the form of Farmers' Field
Schools enabled 4,755 farmers to benefit from advanced agricultural knowledge.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 2
Hot Pepper Farmers in St. Elizabeth to Benefit from Processing Facility
Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Mandeville - 22 Feb 2010
Pepper farmers in St. Elizabeth stand to benefit from the establishment of a hot pepper processing facility in Hounslow in
the parish. Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, making the announcement at a town hall
meeting at the St. Peter's Anglican Church in Pedro Plains on Friday (February 18), said that the facility should start
operations in about two months. He informed that the company setting up the processing plant is a major exporter of hot
pepper sauce to Central America and Europe. "We have a competitive advantage in hot pepper so I want to see in this
irrigation district, farmers doing the training sessions that we will provide to start planting and growing hot pepper,
because that company is going to contract a lot of farmers to grow as much pepper as possible to make hot pepper sauce,"
he stated. In the meantime, he urged farmers in the parish to take advantage of the increased support being provided
through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the National Irrigation Commission (NIC) to
increase their yields. "We are not just encouraging you to grow more, we have provided additional RADA (extension and
marketing officers), who have to be re-trained every year. We are providing post harvest facility and we are giving you
water management techniques, so that the cost of the water is not as expensive as it would have been if you did not
manage it properly," he stated. Minister Tufton said that the Government will not relent on its mission to foster increased
production so that the appetite for imported foods can be reduced. He urged that players in the sector to manage the land
and water resources efficiently, so that agriculture can be sustainable. "How we manage the critical resources of land and
water to ensure that we get the best yields from the soil out of our agricultural effort is crucial. We have the best lands,
and we have to make the best use of them," Dr. Tufton stated. He informed that "we will be going through our database
to look at persons, who have access to lands by ownership or by leased arrangements, and provide information and
technical support and access to low cost money to (help them) invest in agriculture."
Fruits & Vegetables: Bananas
Calls for a Caribbean strategy to deal with Black Sigatoka
Caribbean Daily News – 6 February 2010: http://www.caribbeandailynews.com/?p=5542
The Guyana government is calling for a Caribbean approach to deal with the deadly Black Sigatoka disease now
affecting the plantain and banana industry in the region. Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud said the approach to
dealing with the fungal disease would require the support and cooperation of all including researchers, regional
institutions and farmers. Persaud has written several regional agencies as well as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Secretary General, Edwin requesting that resources be made available to mount a regional response to the disease. He
said that there are reports of serious infestation in the Windward Islands, especially in Dominica and St. Vincent and the
Grenadines, while Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are also dealing with the disease. In Guyana, significant acreages of
plantain and banana have been affected by an outbreak of the Black Sigatoka disease and the Ministry of Agriculture has
mounted a vigorous campaign to inform farmers and other stakeholders of the measures being taken to deal with the
outbreak. Bananas rank among the most valuable of agricultural export crops for several CARICOM countries, including
Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 3
Black Sigatoka-worst fears confirmed
MAFF News (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, St Lucia) - Jan 2010, p.7: www.maff.egov.lc
Two areas in St. Lucia are suspected of being infected with a very dangerous Black Sigatoka leaf spot disease of
bananas. The areas identified are Forestiere and Combat in the north of the island. The disease was recently confirmed in
St. Vincent and is known to be present in some central and South American countries, Florida, Cuba, the Dominican
Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Bahamas, Grenada and Trinidad. This fungal disease is more aggressive and has greater
infection potential than the common yellow leaf spot disease. It can cause great harm to the banana industry as it is easily
spread and production of infected plants is drastically reduced. The disease is spread mainly by human activity and wind.
Industry officials are therefore concerned about the movement of plant material from the suspicious areas. The Ministry
has therefore issued a call to residents and farmers in these localities for cooperation in restricting the movement of all
plant material. The areas should be considered restricted areas as the Ministry proceeds to spray and destroy potentially
infected plant material. In addition the Ministry of Agriculture is reminding the general public of the existing strict
control on all plant material being imported particularly from known infested countries. Following the observation, the
Ministry of Agriculture moved with haste to reactivate the task force on Black Sigatoka comprising all relevant stake-
holders from the industry to develop a well coordinated and unified approach to attempt to eradicate the disease if it is
present. The Ministry is currently working closely with the Agricultural Research Center for International Development
(CIRAD) in Guadeloupe and the National Plant Protection Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture in France for a
Renewable energy project for fishing community
St Lucia Government Information Service – 5 Feb 2010:
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs, and the University of Vermont have officially opened their
third renewable energy project in the village of Praslin. Chief Sustainable Development Officer within the Ministry of
Physical Development, Crispin d'Auvergne, says much work has been done in an effort to develop Saint Lucia as a
sustainable energy demonstration country. He says it is the aim of the Department of Sustainable Development to
continue planning the development of more alternative energy facilities, thus making it possible to significantly reduce
the cost of importing fuel. “The east coast in Saint Lucia, has already taken the lead of renewable energy. For one thing,
we have this facility we are launching today. We also have some micro-hydro facilities in this district and if things go
according to plan, LUCELEC will, in the not too distant future, establish a 12 megawatt wind farm on the south-east
coast.” To date, the Micoud-North constituency boasts three alternative energy sites—the recently opened wind farm in
Praslin, and two micro hydro-power generator and solar panels at La-Tille falls. Parliamentary representative for the area,
Honourable Jeanine Compton, says government will look into other areas of alternative energy. “I am going to encourage
the government, and the ministry of agriculture to look seriously into bio-gas production, because we have many pig
farms on the island. What is happening now, is the waste from these farms are going directly into our sea and bathing
water and we don't realize the damage it is doing to us. If we could utilize that [pigs waste] as a source of renewable
energy, I think that could take us a long way.” The University of Vermont has pledged its continued support to the
government of Saint Lucia in its quest to tap into alternative energy methods in the future.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 4
Soil & Water
Guyana upbeat about Caribbean water management project
Stabroek News - 18 January 2010:
Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud has said that Guyana is pursuing the strategic management of water and so it is
crucial to decrease water wastage and increase its conservation. Having made tremendous investment in water for human
consumption, irrigation, agriculture and other purposes, Minister Persaud said it is imperative to now examine ways to
manage this precious resource, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported. The minister made the remarks at
a Caribbean Water Initiative (CARIWIN) Regional Seminar aimed at building institutional capacity in integrated water
management. The programme is being undertaken in Guyana, Grenada and Jamaica to improve existing capacity by
involving local community organisations, water use associations and regional and national networks. Persaud noted that
CARIWIN is a unique project which addresses emerging issues affecting the strategic management of water. “We are
looking at utilising our resources in a sustainable manner so partnering with this programme would assist in dealing with
critical issues because of our limited availability of expertise,” the Agriculture Minister said. With Guyana one meter
below sea level, it was noted that water management is even more critical since 80 percent of its population resides along
the low coastal plain and 75 percent of its agricultural activities are conducted there. Director of the CARIWIN Project at
McGill University, Dr Chandra Madramootoo, said the perspectives on water management garnered from the three
countries of study will provide a broad base of understanding in assessing the entire Caribbean. The Caribbean Water
Initiative is a six-year project with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) as its main partner.
The programme focuses on decision making for integrated water resource management and data collection and analysis.
It promotes coordinated management of water, land and related resources without compromising the sustainability of
vital ecosystems. Dr Madramootoo pointed out that water management is important since it covers issues such as flood,
wastage, drought, ecosystem degradation, loss of productivity and structural damage to property. He observed that
providing good quality water in rural areas that are far removed from centralised resources and conserving water as food
security is vital to flood disaster preparedness. Dr Madramootoo, who is experienced in water policy, stressed that given
urban expansion, Guyana’s infrastructural design with its old engineering approaches is long outdated. However, he
disclosed that changes in the hydrologic and climate regime would pose challenges in building a community water
strategy with weather-based risk assessment and insurance models. Meanwhile, Principal of the CIMH, Dr David Farrell
revealed that CARIWIN is in its third year and seeks to increase capacity of countries to deliver equitable and sustainable
water. Dr Farrell said the Caribbean is a good launching pad for the project to recognize its goals and objectives. He also
stressed that the aim is to make the water sector extremely vibrant and secure community involvement in water
conservation, GINA added.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 5
Climate change to affect drinking water, crop yields, insect population
Trinidad and Tobago Express – 24 Feb 2010, pp.7: http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article?id=161599744
Highlights: Climate change would lead to increased aridity of soil and decreased crop yields. Rising sea levels would lead to
inundation and flooding of coastal areas and salination of productive soils leading to decreased crop yield and less available areas
for agricultural production. Planning Minister Dr Emily Gaynor Dick-Forde said the specific projected impact of climate change
on Trinidad and Tobago are an increase in annual temperate by 0.7 to 2.6 degrees Celsius by 2060, decrease in rainfall and a
’significant’ rise in sea levels by 0.56 metres by 2090.
Planning Minister Dr Emily Gaynor Dick-Forde yesterday warned climactic change would significantly affect
agricultural production as well as cause a reduction in potable water, an increase in the spread of the vector population
and a rise in the incidence of water-borne diseases in flooded areas. She said climate change would lead to increased
aridity of soil and decreased crop yields. She said increases in sea levels would lead to inundation and flooding of coastal
areas and salination of productive soils leading to decreased crop yield and less available areas for agricultural
production. She said in terms of the water resources sector, the temperature increase would result in a loss of available
surface water as a result of increased evapo-transpiration, which would be exacerbated by decreased rainfall. She said
climate change is also expected to impact adversely on coastal zones. ’The reason we are pointing this out is not for
gloom and doom, but to highlight that having understood the problem, Government is providing comprehensive and
integrated solutions,’ Dick-Forde stated. She said Government was looking toward food security. Therefore, it had
established the mega-farms and use former Caroni lands to enhance food production. Government was also promoting
the use of compressed natural gas. Government was also developing a carbon reduction policy. She said Government was
also looking at land management and had developed a national action programme to combat land degradation and to
promote the sustainable use of land. She said Government was engaged in various projects to protect the coastal lands.
She said the solar street lighting initiative, which hopefully would be incorporated into new housing developments, was
another project aimed at combating climate change. Dick-Forde said the specific projected impact of climate change on
Trinidad and Tobago are an increase in annual temperate by 0.7 to 2.6 degrees Celsius by 2060, decrease in rainfall and a
’significant’ rise in sea levels by 0.56 metres by 2090.
Government commits $258M for El Nino relief efforts
GINA, Georgetown - 21Feb 2010
Highlights: “President Bharrat Jagdeo brought a sense of hope to farmers of Region Two after announcing that $258M will be set
aside to support the Ministry of Agriculture's efforts to bring relief to farmers affected by the prevailing El Nino phenomenon.
… Among the many interventions which the $258M will fund will be planting materials, fertilizers for cash crop and other
farmers, portable water tanks to service communities in desperate need such as the Amerindian villages and other remote areas.
The full scale effort the President said may even have to include digging wells for some to reduce the high cost incurred to
transport waters to these communities if necessary”
President Bharrat Jagdeo brought a sense of hope to farmers of Region Two after announcing that $258M will be set
aside to support the Ministry of Agriculture's efforts to bring relief to farmers affected by the prevailing El Nino
The president made this disclosure during two well attended meetings at Dartmouth and Cotton Field on the Essequibo
Coast where fruitful interactions were held with farmers, particularly rice farmers who are already facing the
consequences of the phenomenon.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 6
The Head of State was accompanied by Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud, Minister of Tourism, Industry and
Commerce Manniram Prashad, Chairman of Region Two Ali Baksh and General Secretary of the Rice Producers'
Association (RPA) Dharamkumar Seeraj General Secretary.
Among the many interventions which the $258M will fund will be planting materials, fertilizers for cash crop and other
farmers, portable water tanks to service communities in desperate need such as the Amerindian villages and other remote
The full scale effort the President said may even have to include digging wells for some to reduce the high cost incurred
to transport waters to these communities if necessary.
Speaking to residents at the Eight of May Community High School in Dartmouth and the Anna Regina Multilateral
Secondary, President Jagdeo listened and empathized with the residents in the current situation they are facing.
Some farmers said they are likely to lose more than 1000 acres of rice if fresh water is not irrigated to the area in a timely
manner. Others expressed deep concerns about the level of salt in the water.
One farmer of Hampton Court said the farmers are in such a desperate state that they are forced to pump salt water to
about 150 acres of rice lands knowing the bad consequences of such actions.
Several others blamed ‘bad management' at the level of the regional administration and the drainage and irrigation
authority for failing to control the availability of water.
The Head of State however assured that his administration is fully cognizant of the difficulties and is committed to
bringing full scale relief to those who depend on farming for a living.
“The entire apparatus of the Government is focused on bringing as much relief as is humanly possible to our people right
across Guyana. The situation is so severe that it has taken a toll on livestock and people's way of life. Some communities
have difficulty with drinking water particular the Amerindian communities in some of the regions of our country,”
President Jagdeo said.
While these interventions will be enhancing capabilities to adequately deal with the crisis, President Jagdeo urged the
farmers to become more knowledgeable about the phenomenon since it will inform the decisions they make in the future
regarding the situation.
The unusual changes in weather patterns are the new challenges which President Jagdeo said are affecting the way of life
of citizens and should be given serious attention.
The Head of State also urged the residents to become more aware of the 2010 budget and its contents, particularly those
relating to Region Two. He said this is necessary since they can draw their own conclusions about the manner in which
funds are being spent and hold the regional administration accountable.
Most importantly also the President said farmers should be aware of legislation relating to farmers' rights. This was in
response to some farmers at the Anna Regina Multilateral School who complained about millers setting unscrupulous
prices that are sometimes way beyond the reach of the farmers pocket to pay. “We have very tough legislation which
could see the millers being sanctioned significantly. Preventing their export including affecting their licenses to mill so I
would urge you to pay attention to the tools that we have passed, the new laws to protect farmers in this regard,”
President Jagdeo said.
El Nino, a Spanish word for Christ child is a temporary change in climate in the Pacific Ocean which warms to about two
degrees above normal. The phenomenon occurs at different levels with a strong El Nino lasting for a period of about one
year before returning to normalcy.
Since May 2009, many parts of Guyana have been experiencing 50 to 60 percent below the long term average rainfall.
The Ministry of Agriculture's Hydromet Service said that most international climate models indicate that the current El
Nino episode will be at its peak between January and February.
It is expected that during February to early April the current trends of reduction in rainfall are likely to continue over
Guyana, with higher probabilities of drier conditions.
At an earlier forum, President Jagdeo met farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector gathered at the Cheddi
Jagan Research Centre for a workshop on El Nino and government's interventions, calling for tough action and sacrifice
on the part of citizens.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 7
PM Thomas and delegation review climate change conference and engage in strategic planning
Official website of the Government of Grenada - 15 Feb 2010:
Members of the Grenada delegation to last December's United Nations' Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen met
at the Rainbow Inn in St Andrew on Sunday for a Review and Strategic Planning session. Prime Minister Tillman
Thomas, Environment Minister Michael Church, Ambassador Dessima Williams and lead negotiators Dr Spencer
Thomas and Leon Charles were among the participants. Among issues discussed were obligations and benefits to
Grenada as chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), reports and the way forward in 2010 including COP-16
to be held in Mexico, and Grenada's national interest and participation. Ambassador Williams also reported on possible
opportunities for Grenada in renewable energy through its association with a Gulf-based organisation. Prime Minister
Thomas hailed Sunday's discussion as instructive as Grenada continues to provide leadership to the 43-member alliance.
However, he noted that in the process Grenada will also be seeking its national interest without compromising its
leadership role. “There appears to be some polarization in some quarters but we (AOSIS) must do what is right and take
a principle stand,” he said. “We must also maintain cohesion within AOSIS and continue the dialogue from
Copenhagen,” Prime Minister Thomas told members of the delegation. Minister Church commended the persons who
represented Grenada and AOSIS at the Copenhagen conference and encouraged them to continue providing good
leadership despite the challenges. “We have certain leverage as chair of AOSIS and we must take advantage of that,” said
Church in reporting that four projects will be submitted to Japan for funding. The projects were discussed during bilateral
talks on the margins of the Copenhagen Conference.
TT joins Australia carbon capture initiative
Chan Tack, C
Trinidad and Tobago Newsday 4 Feb 2010: http://www.newsday.co.tt/businessday/0,115328.html
THE Government of Trinidad and Tobago has agreed to pursue membership in the Global Carbon Capture and Storage
(CCS) Institute, further to an invitation from the Australian government. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke
about this initiative when he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Port-of-Spain
last November. Australia will host the next CHOGM in 2011. A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said
the Global CCS Institute is a multinational initiative of the Australian government which is aimed at accelerating the
international commercial development and implementation of carbon capture and storage technologies and commercial
deployment of CCS. The initiative was announced by the Australian government in September 2008 and was formally
launched in April 2009. The Global CCS Institute was incorporated on June 12, 2009 as a not- for-profit company and
became an independent legal entity in July 2009. Given the vital nature of the institute, the Australian government has
committed AUD$100 million annually over the medium term to establish and fund the Global CCS Institute to ensure the
ongoing success of this initiative. As a member of the Global CCS Institute, Trinidad and Tobago will benefit from
several opportunities which are afforded by the Institute. These include: shaping the strategic direction of the Global
CCS Institute through voting rights and proposing and voting on amendments to the constitution. As a member of the
Institute, this country will also be involved in sharing knowledge , information and expertise on: the development and
deployment of safe, economic and environmentally sustainable commercial scale CCS projects; technologies that will
capture, transport and store emissions, and provide expert insight on the costs and benefits of carbon solutions and the
operational and legislative requirement needed to achieve success, and methods to build confidence in CCS and help
drive the international momentum needed to provide a solution to the urgent problem of climate change; approving
appointments to the board of directors and to the international advisory panel and nominating and voting on
appointments to the board selection panel. The ministry said as a oil producing country, Trinidad and Tobago recognises
that there is a need for the reduction of carbon emissions and is committed to finding suitable and acceptable solutions to
the climate change phenomenon. By becoming CCS technology-ready, Trinidad and Tobago will be positioning itself to
take advantage of opportunities that may present themselves in the international market while reducing its own carbon
emissions. Membership in the Global CCS Institute is open to governments, non-governmental organisations and
multinational corporations that demonstrate a legitimate interest in the advancement of CCS. The current membership of
the Institute includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, India, Japan and the Republic of
Korea. Members are required to pay a contingent liability fee of AUD$10. The Institute’s head office is located in
Canberra, Australia and there are plans to establish satellite offices in other parts of the world.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 8
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
Agriculture Minister encourages farmers to embrace efficiency
The Daily OBSERVER - 1Feb 2010:
Highlights: Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment Hilson Baptiste, said. “These are exciting times for
agriculture. Our, value has increased from EC $16 million in 2005 to EC $19 million in 2007.” He explained that the Ministry has
a national food production plan consisting of a number of interrelated elements which include production, post harvest, marketing,
support services, strengthening of infrastructure such as farm roads and dams, rehabilitation of agricultural stations at Cades Bay,
Green Castle, Christian Valley, Dunbars and Betty’s Hope and Information and Promotion. Phase one focuses on crop production
and 18 commodities are targeted to be produced primarily by 40 primary farmers or “commodity specialists.” Areas under
production is projected to move from 352 acres in 2009 to 750 acres in 2011, while total annual production is estimated to
increase from 6.5 million pounds in 2009 to 16 million pounds in 2011.
Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & the Environment Hilson Baptiste, yesterday, said it is critical for farmers to
embrace new technologies, and more efficient uses for water, as the sector seeks to increase production using good
agricultural practices (GAP). To this end, Baptiste said, the technical officers within the ministry are hard at work with
the farmers, and now “farmers are using chemicals and fertilizers more efficiently while reducing erosion and employing
responsible tillage practices. The result is increased production on fewer acres with minimal environmental impacts.”
Meantime, the minister said the Veterinary and Livestock Division is taking great pride in caring for their animals and
their operations. “They also take seriously their responsibility for delivering safe and nutritious beef, pork, lamb and
poultry products to consumers in a sustainable manner by combining quality assurance techniques with common sense
animal husbandry practices,” Baptiste said. “These are exciting times for agriculture. Our, value has increased from EC
$16 million in 2005 to EC $19 million in 2007.” However, more than simply producing food, agriculture will produce
the “Five F’s”: Food, Feed, Fiber, Fuel and the Fundamental building blocks of the twenty-first century renewable
economy necessary for sustainable economic growth. These “Five Fs” are the common thread tying agriculture to the
lives of everyone on the planet.” By recognising the connections that link agriculture to education, science, technology,
medicine, research, commercialisation, manufacturing, renewable energy, finance, jobs and economic development,
Baptiste said, “we can harness our country’s number one industry to serve the best interests of all.” He added that
agriculture could become competitive and gain comparative advantage. “In the nineteenth century, homesteaders used a
mule and a moldboard plow to break the thick prairie sod,” he explained. “In the twenty-first century, their descendents
worked the same land with sophisticated tractors equipped with Global Positioning Systems. “Although the tools have
changed, the thread of agriculture will continue to link the citizens, schools, businesses and communities.” He explained
that the Ministry has a national food production plan consisting of a number of interrelated elements which include
production, post harvest, marketing, support services, strengthening of infrastructure such as farm roads and dams,
rehabilitation of agricultural stations at Cades Bay, Green Castle, Christian Valley, Dunbars and Betty’s Hope and
Information and Promotion. Phase one focuses on crop production and 18 commodities are targeted to be produced
primarily by 40 primary farmers or “commodity specialists.” Areas under production is projected to move from 352 acres
in 2009 to 750 acres in 2011, while total annual production is estimated to increase from 6.5 million pounds in 2009 to
16 million pounds in 2011.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 9
2010 Budget Statement. Minister of Finance, the Economy and Public Administration, Antigua and
Barbuda. November 2009
Agriculture and Fisheries, p.62-64:
Agriculture contributes between two and a half and three percent of gross domestic product in Antigua and Barbuda each
year. Though this is relatively small compared to other sectors such as tourism, wholesale and retail trade,
communications, and construction, agriculture is still an essential sector. This sector is critical to the attainment of food
security and also has the potential to increase foreign exchange earnings, achieve foreign exchange earnings and create
employment. While Antigua and Barbuda does not have vast areas of arable land like a number of its Caribbean
neighbours, there is potential for expansion of agricultural production to help meet local demand and take advantage of
With this in mind the Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has developed an action plan to expand crop
production in Antigua and Barbuda over the period 2009 to 2012. This action plan will focus on four main sub-projects
that are intended to bring about the objective of increasing crop production. One of these sub-projects is restoring and
upgrading five agricultural stations where pineapples, tropical fruits, vegetables, and cotton are the main focus.
This activity is to be undertaken with the assistance of international and regional agencies including the Food and
Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the Caribbean
Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI). The total cost of this aspect of the action plan is $5.5 million.
It will include the delivery of training to farmers as well as technicians in the Ministry of Agriculture, provision of tools
and equipment and identification and implementation of strategies to promote agro tourism. Work on this initiative has
already commenced and should be completed within the next three to five years.
With an increase in the level of crop production, it will be critical to ensure that there is a stable and consistent market for
the output of local farmers. A key element in this will be the Central Marketing Corporation (CMC). To ensure that the
CMC can meet the needs of farmers, a $6.5 million project is to be undertaken over the next three years to expand and
modernise the facility. Emphasis will be on increasing input storage, improving handling facilities, and building a new
food centre. The improved CMC facilities will serve as the export agency for local produce and will have the capacity for
Another initiative to be undertaken over the next three years will be the enhancement of the Agricultural Development
Corporation (ADC) and establishment of a system for safe and healthy food. A $6 million project aimed at enhancing the
facilities at the ADC will be executed and will include construction of a fifteen thousand square foot packing house
facility. This will be a central facility for washing, grading, chilling and storing produce of local farmers. The improved
facilities at the Agriculture Development Corporation will provide the requisite postharvest handling, packaging and
The project to establish a system for safe and healthy food will be driven by the expansion and retrofitting of the
laboratory at Dunbars. Once completed, this $4 million project will ensure there are modern facilities in Antigua and
Barbuda to test and monitor food quality, determine pesticide residue on foods, and conduct routine soil and plant tissue
analysis. The objective of this project is to ensure that the foods produced in Antigua and Barbuda meet international
food safety standards and that the general public can be assured of access to healthy and high quality foods. A critical
remit of the enhanced laboratory will be to inspect restaurants and hotels and to analyse imported foods to protect the
general health and safety of the public.
Work has already commenced on a number of these activities. At the same time that efforts are being pursued to enhance
crop production, the Government will expedite the preparation of similar action plans to enhance output and
competitiveness in fisheries and livestock. In addition, a new project for poultry production will be introduced to create
opportunities for our small poultry farmers. Further, efforts to create linkages between agriculture and tourism will be
enhanced as the Ministries of Tourism and Agriculture increase collaboration on a number of festivals, including the
Mango and Pineapple Fest, and an expanded Seafood Festival.
The UPP Government is committed to doing what it takes to achieve food security and help reduce the food import bill.
An essential element of this will be to continue to support and encourage home-based gardens and to ensure that the
public is fully aware of the benefits of supporting our local farmers. The Ministry will therefore launch a public
awareness and education programme and also develop and implement a “Buy Local” campaign. We are certain that with
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 10
the implementation of these various projects and the strong support of all stakeholders and the general public, the
agriculture sector’s contribution to economic output will increase significantly. By making this sector a priority in
Antigua and Barbuda we expect to realize outcomes that both generate and save foreign currency. Also, the Government
anticipates that the sector will create new jobs and our country will be effectively positioned to achieve the objective of a
modern, sustainable agricultural sector.
Expenditure in the Ministry of Agriculture, Housing Lands, Fisheries and the
An allocation of $31,009,103 has been made in Budget 2010 for this Ministry.
Agriculture has been identified as a priority sector in the Economic Action component of the NEST Plan. The resources
allocated in Budget 2010 will help the Ministry to continue work in a number of areas including:
a) implementing the National Food Production Plan
b) establishing a system for adequate and reliable input supply at the Central Marketing Corporation
c) upgrading operations at the Agricultural Development Corporation
d) upgrading the analytic and diagnostic facilities at Dunbars to provide services to producers and to ensure food safety
e) providing production , training, technology and farm certification services to all producers through the Extension
f) finalising strategic action plans for fisheries and livestock
The Ministry will advance work on a number of housing developments and will also work to create a National Physical
Development Plan which will stress environmental protection, promote sustainable development and ensure the
appropriate use of land through the creation of a zoning system.
Ministry of Agriculture National Food Production Plan
Antigua and Barbuda. Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing & The Environment, News, Programs and Projects - 13 October
National Food Production Plan phase 1: crop production developed by a technical team from the Ministry of Agriculture,
Lands, Marine Resources & Agro Industry. Julius A Ross, Technical Consultant. August, 2008.
“Summary: The Plan consists of a number of interrelated elements (Fig 1) which include production, postharvest, marketing,
support services, strengthening of infrastructure such as farm roads and dams, rehabilitation of agricultural stations at Cades Bay,
Green Castle, Christian Valley, Dunbars and Bettys Hope and Information and Promotion. Phase 1 focuses on crop production
and 18 commodities are targeted to be produced primarily by 40 primary farmers or “commodity specialists.” Area under
production is projected to move from 352 acres in 2009 to 750 acres in 2011, while total annual production is estimated to
increase from 6.5 million pounds in 2009 to 16 million pounds in 2011. Onion and carrot are targeted for regional exports.
Strategic actions necessary for the successful implementation are presented in Table 1. Estimates of inputs and machinery are
presented. Phase 2 will include livestock and Phase 3 Fisheries.” Selected commodities are onion, carrot, tomato, sweet pepper,
cabbage, egg plant, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, cucumber, butternut, pumpkin, melons, sweet potato, yam, cassava, corn,
pineapple, fruit, herbs and spices, hot pepper, sorrel, cotton.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 11
Annual Agriculture review Grenada W.I. 2008.
Grenada. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. November 2009. Annual agriculture review Grenada W.I. 2008.
St.George’s, Grenada: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
“The agriculture sector now accounts for approximately 6% of GDP and employs about 8% of the total labour force.
Agriculture exports in 2008 amounted to approximately EC $20M. The principal export crops being cocoa, nutmeg and
mace, spices, citrus and other fruits and vegetables.” pp.6
• Ministry of Agriculture’s Impact on Grenada’s Agriculture Industry
• Performance of Fruits, Vegetables and Root Crop Subsectors and Assessment of the Impact by Supporting
• Performance of the Livestock Subsector and Assessment and Impact of Supporting Ministerial Division
• Performance of the Fisheries Subsector and Assessment and Impact of Supporting Ministerial Division
• Performance of the Forestry Subsector and Assessment and Impact of Supporting Ministerial Division
• Performance of the Agro-Processing Subsector and Assessment and Impact of Supporting Ministerial Division
• Performance of the Spice Subsector and Assessment and Impact of Supporting Statutory Association
• Performance of the Cocoa Subsector and Assessment and Impact of Supporting Statutory Association
• Performance of the Nutmeg Subsector and Assessment and Impact of Supporting Statutory Association
• Ministry of Agriculture’s 4H Movement
• Ministry of Agriculture’s Projects and Programmes to Support Agriculture Development
• Support received from Collaborating Institutions and /or Donor Community (FAO, European Union, Chinese
Agricultural Mission, The University of the West Indies, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development
Institute, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture)
• Grenada’s agrarian economy– exploiting the niche of agro-tourism by Shadel Nyack Compton, Proprietor,
• Why the development of a scientifically sound and sustainable food security strategy, programme and policy
can no longer be left on the fringes of agricultural priorities in Grenada? by Daniel Lewis, Senior Planning
Officer, Ministry of Agriculture
• Agricultural production data – pivotal for promoting the commercialization of agriculture in Grenada by Jude
Houston, Consultant, FAO
• Meteorological observation for 2008
Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) contributed significantly to
Grenada’s agriculture sector in 2008 in the area of research
Grenada. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. November 2009. Annual agriculture review Grenada W.I. 2008.
St.George’s, Grenada: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. pp.52-53
The Annual agriculture review Grenada W.I. 2008, published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in
November 2009, stated that the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) “contributed
significantly to Grenada’s agriculture sector in 2008 in the area of research”. “CARDI also supported food security and
commercial production for the period under review. This was done mainly through the multiplication and distribution of
planting material to farmers, gardeners and the Agronomy Division, Ministry of Agriculture” (see Table 13: CARDI’s
Distribution of Crop Planting Material for 2008)
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 12
“The material supplied to farmers was estimated to have an estimated economic impact of EC$ 8.2 million on the
agricultural sector. Other contribution to food security was in the form of technical advice to many farmers in the areas of
crop management. Direct financial contribution to the Grenadian economy was in the tune of EC$ 308,000.00.”
Brief descriptions and results of the following research projects for the period were also presented in the report:
• New Way of Enhancing Hot Pepper Productivity Tested
• Assistance in Developing a Sustainable Papaya Industry in Grenada
Guyana 2010 Budget Speech presented on 8 Feb 2010
Excerpts of 2010 budget: Agriculture
Sectoral Developments and the Agenda 2010: B. Transforming the Economy: a. Modernising the Traditional Sectors
pp.16 Sugar: Guysuco is projected to invest $5.8 billion in 2010, for the replacement of field and factory assets and land
development. Testing of the Skeldon factory is ongoing and expected to be concluded shortly. A total amount of $4.1
billion is projected to be spent in 2010 towards the completion of all aspects of the Skeldon project, including the
agriculture operations, the factory and the cogeneration plant. The factory will benefit from expected increases in cane
production and resolution of the operational issues which affected its output in 2009. The construction of the Enmore
packaging plant is also expected to be completed by the end of the year. This plant will have the capability to bag table-
ready sugar in various sizes and allow Guysuco to supply some 10,000 tonnes of packaged sugar to markets in
CARICOM, the United States and the United Kingdom.
pp.17 Rice: Also in 2010, construction of the new seed facility at No. 56 Village will commence at a cost of $40 million
and a new seed dryer will be purchased for the Burma research station at a cost of $16 million.
Sectoral Developments and the Agenda 2010: B. Transforming the Economy: b. New and Emerging Sectors
pp.19-20 Agricultural diversification: In 2010, Government has allocated $1.3 billion to continue the expansion and
development of the non-traditional sub-sectors in the areas of agribusiness planning, extension services, technology
transfer, and institutional strengthening. Of this sum, amounts totaling $736 million will be spent under the Agriculture
Export Diversification Programme (AEDP) on the rehabilitation of the seed facility and the furnishing of the germplasm
laboratory at National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), and commencing the construction of a genetic bank at
National Dairy Development Programme (NDDP). Improved services to farmers will be achieved through the
streamlining of crop extension services, plant health and research, and the consolidation of livestock development
programmes pursuant to the recently passed Guyana Livestock Development Authority Act. Also included in the 2010
allocation is an amount of $350 million to be spent under the Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Development Programme
to develop a market and enterprise information system, to conduct a market identification and competitiveness
assessment, along with other activities such as training and capacity building for over 2,000 farmers.
4.21 In keeping with the objective to diversify the product base of the non-traditional sectors, Government will facilitate
closer collaboration between farmers and investors in promoting production of export grade fruits and vegetables. The
services offered by the New Guyana Marketing Corporation (NGMC) will be expanded with the recent acquisition of
four trucks and five refrigerated containers, the first cold chain support system to our rural farmers. In addition,
continued support will be provided through training of farmers on good agricultural practices, agribusiness planning,
marketing and post harvest management, the provision of additional equipment and the establishment of a Guyana brand,
which will give our local products a more competitive edge on the international market.
Physical Infrastructure for Transformation
pp. 24-25 Roads and bridges: 4.37 The sum of $1 billion has been budgeted for the construction of approximately 35
kilometres of all weather roads in the Black Bush Polder area, which houses some 425 farmers and 17,000 acres of land
under cultivation. Further, in order to improve access to over 1,500 acres of agricultural land, major improvement will
commence on the East and West Canje roads from this allocation.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 13
Targets for 2010 – Real Gross Domestic Product: Agriculture
5.3 Mr. Speaker, sugar production is projected at 280,000 tonnes, 19.8 percent above the 2009 level of production. This
target reflects implementation of the turnaround plan, including from increased acreage under cultivation, returns to
mechanisation and improvement in the conversion rate of sugar from cane. Achievement of this target will also be
considerably aided by a stable industrial relations environment, and favourable weather conditions.
5.4 Following the bumper harvest of 2009, the rice industry is projected to moderate somewhat, with production
projected to contract by 4.6 percent to 343,373 tonnes. The current El Nino conditions, which have prevailed since the
latter months of 2009 and are expected to continue through the first quarter of this year, have adversely affected sowing
of paddy, which translates to lower acreage under cultivation and hence lower production.
5.5 The livestock industry is expected to continue along a similar growth path in recent years with a projected 2.9 percent
growth. Other agriculture is also projected to grow by 2.1 percent, as the agricultural diversification programme and the
Grow More Campaign continue to reap rewards. The forestry sector is projected to grow by 5 percent, as the demand for
wood products is expected to increase as the world economy recovers, and as increased production of sawn lumber and
policies to facilitate greater export of higher value-added wood products take effect. After a disappointing performance in
2009, the fishing industry is projected to expand marginally by 0.5 percent with some restoration of demand as the
tourism dependent centres of the Caribbean recover.
Striking development in Agriculture sector - 2009
Ministry of Agriculture, Guyana - Jan 2010
During 2009, the Agriculture Ministry placed major emphasis on reducing Guyana's reliance on a dual-crop economy by
promoting the importance of diversification and registering support for aquaculture and the cultivation of alternative
crops. To this end, the ministry redoubled its efforts to improve drainage and irrigation works across the country to
adequately address the changing weather patterns of drought and heavy rainfall. The ministry also made significant steps
with regards to international cooperation in areas of rice, sugar and forests.
It was an important year for the rice sector characterised by challenges as well as progress. Government lowered the
export commission as part of a number of measures aimed at supporting rice farmers towards enhancing their
competitive capabilities. Other than investments, interventions were made, including reducing the export commission
from US$10 to US$4 beyond the minimum margin at US$6. This measure costs $240M and allowed millers to offer
farmers a more competitive price. In March, government also announced an $800M commitment to the viability of the
rice industry. Part of the money was dedicated to the provision of fertilizer at a lower cost and an arrangement for the
provision of seed paddy. Rice farmers were further assisted when with the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB)
and the Rice Producers Association (RPA) disclosed that a state-of-the-art $40M facility at Burma will be built and
farmers will also be aided in the transport of paddy. Two months later, a Brazilian company, Rice Tec, signed four
agreements with the Agriculture Ministry to reform the rice sector in Region Nine. The company conducted a feasibility
study which indicated that conditions were suitable for the hybrid rice cultivation.
Guyana also signed a historic trade agreement for rice farmers with Venezuela aimed at creating a market for 10,000 tons
of paddy and 40,000 tons of white rice. The project worth $3.7B made it possible for an initial exportation in November
which is to be followed by 10 shipments by the end of February 2010.
In addition, the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) in October commissioned a laser land leveller and tractor
worth approximately $20M to assist rice farmers in improving rice production.
While, no effort was spared in ensuring rice farmers harvested a bountiful crop, the ministry wasted no time in
implementing measures to deal with the El Nino weather phenomenon. The Agriculture and Amerindian Affairs
Ministries dispatched supplies including water tanks, acoushi ant bait, pumps, swing fog machine and chemicals worth
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 14
$8M to Region Nine farmers who were grappling with the harsh September weather. Simultaneously, the National
Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), accelerated drainage mechanisms in the coastal regions while upping critical
support to hinterland agriculture. The prolonged dry season had threatened approximately 20 percent of 8,000 acres of
rice and the ministry pledged its support to the rice farmers in ensuring that all steps are taken to minimise the possibility
Farmers expressed an interest in assistance including fertilizers and extension of available and new drying facilities
across the growing rice belt. They were granted $208M for the provision of fertilizers, where each farmer who cultivates
an average of 30 acres to receive 30 bags at half price while $180M was earmarked for 12 drying facilities .
Drainage and Irrigation
During the year, millions were spent to improve the existing drainage structures and ensure that Guyana remains flood
resilient. In May seven contracts valued at over $141M were awarded by the Ministry of Agriculture to six contractors to
boost the capacity of the NDIA, the Burma Rice Research Station and the Parika Packaging Facility.
Rehabilitation of structures was undertaken at the EDWC, at a cost of nearly $50M and another contract to fabricate a
punt and a pontoon at a cost of over $34M was granted.
And in its diversification efforts, the Agriculture Ministry procured an excavator at a cost of $37M to promote and
improve the aquaculture industry. The investment was made to support aquaculture farmers who are interested in digging
The Ministry reported that fingerlings increased from 20,000 in 2008 to 90,000 in 2009. A new pump station at
Stanleytown, Region Three was also commissioned by Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud to increase the drainage
capacity of Canal Number Two Polder, an area that has been affected in the past by the accumulation of water but with
the installation of the pump this will bring considerable relief.
The EDWC also received a boost with the re-commissioning of two Lama Sluices, the procurement of a punt, pontoon
and hydraulic excavator in November. The two sluices were rehabilitated at a cost in excess of $49M and will serve to
discharge water from the Conservancy into the Lama Creek.
NDIA acquired a second pontoon, which costs over $50M, to better manage areas that are affected by siltation and will
complement the operation of the first pontoon acquired in 2008. The pontoon is equipped with two long reach
excavators which operate within the channel and drainage sluices along the East and West Coast and West Bank
Four contracts amounting to over $1.1B were inked to pave the way for the rehabilitation of drainage structures in
Regions Three, Four and Six under the Agricultural Support Services Programme (ASSP). This programme seeks to raise
rural incomes on the coastal plain through increasing efficiency of agricultural production.
Severe weather coupled with the halting of the Booker Tate agreement, together proved the turning point for the sugar
industry in 2009. Much revenue was lost due to the European Union's price cut and, the industry managed to cut cost by
$3B without affecting jobs after implementing an efficient management system. The corporation also got a new
Managerial Board and increased production from the previous year. In April, private cane farmers received the red light
to supply sugarcane to the new Skeldon factory. The farmers were told to provide the estate with the 30 percent quota
during the presentation of the blueprint for the sugar industry's future. The move was necessary to ensure that the factory
provides up to 400,000 tons and that the unit cost falls to US$10 cents a pound.
The Ministry of Agriculture launched the Agriculture Market Information Service (AMIS) through the Guyana
Marketing Corporation (GMC) in June to allow farmers, agro-processors, exporters, agri-business investors and
Guyanese in general to access the market prices of commodities through the use of the Short Messaging Service (SMS)
offered by Digicel. A database of commodity prices in Stabroek and Bourda markets, and also market prices of the same
commodities in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados has been created.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 15
The acquisition of the Doppler Weather Radar is geared at developing a first-class weather monitoring system and
enhancing the entire hydro-meteorological department. The 20-meter high tower, at Hyde Park, Timehri, will allow
forecasters to increase precision, time and propensity in their definition of severe weather and will also improve the
network of data collection to guide the committee that monitors the levels of rainfall. The radar with its prediction
capabilities will provide early warnings and allow mitigation interventions to be more efficient.
Dr. Tufton Endorses Agricultural Diversification
Jamaica Information Service (JIS) - 5 Feb 2010:
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon Christopher Tufton, has endorsed the signing of four new contracts,
Wednesday (February 3), under the European Union's (EU) Banana Support Programme (EUBSP), which aim at
diversifying Jamaica's agricultural sector. The signing ceremony at the Bodles Research Station, Old Harbour, St.
Catherine saw the inking of contracts totaling $169 million with Forest Conservancy, the Cocoa Industry Board,
Christian Aid and the Competitiveness Company. The agreements are for grants for projects in communities affected by
the fallout in the banana sector, and are aimed at increasing the production of alternative crops, as well as infrastructure
improvements, training and the establishment of new markets. Speaking at the function, Dr. Tufton said his Ministry
fully endorsed efforts to find alternative economic activities, as well as the thrust to resuscitate rural life by organising
communities around certain projects. He commented that the concentration of economic activities in urban centres was a
"mistake", and that Jamaica's development depended largely on the economic development of rural communities.
"If you create opportunities, no matter how simple it seems, and you provide those opportunities for Jamaicans who
reside in the rural parts of our country, those opportunities have tremendous spin-offs and will aid in the process of
development across the landscape of our country," he insisted. Noting that most of rural Jamaica depends on Agriculture,
he said the failure of the sector would lead to the demise of rural life. He commended the EU programme for its support
to small agricultural projects in rural Jamaica. He stated that evidence has shown that it is not necessarily multi-million
dollar projects that provide the desired multiplier effects, but small businesses such as those supported by the EUBSP.
Wednesday's ceremony also included the official reopening of a newly rehabilitated and equipped Artificial Insemination
Lab and the handing over of a high-tech greenhouse. The lab is the first and only of its kind in the English-speaking
Caribbean. The projects were completed through the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries,
the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the EUBSP. Head of the Rural Development Section,
European Commission to Jamaica, Frederico Berna, commended the Ministry on its work to encourage local food
production, and said the EU was pleased to be a partner in the project.
Agricultural Sector grew by 23.1% in Last Quarter of 2009
Jamaica Information Service (JIS) – 3 Feb 2010:
Preliminary figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries have shown that the agricultural sector continued
expanding in the last quarter of 2009, ending the period with an overall 23.1 per cent increase in production over the
similar period in 2008. The Ministry has calculated that the growth over the October to December quarter led to a 20.5
per cent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) for the quarter. The Ministry also noted that there was an overall 13
per cent increase in crop production in 2009, when compared to figures from the previous year. Last quarter's production
growth included a 33.5 per cent increase in domestic crop production over the similar period in 2008, the sixth
consecutive quarter of growth in the sub-sector. This growth contributed to the overall 22.4 per cent increase in domestic
crop production for the year. The figures were revealed by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher
Tufton, during the Ministry's quarterly press briefing at its offices in Kingston, today (February 2).
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 16
Top performers in the domestic crop sub-sector over the quarter were: plantains with a 131.2 per cent increase;
condiments, 63.0 per cent; vegetables, 40.6 per cent; cereals with 32.4 per cent; yams, 26.7 per cent; and potatoes, which
recorded a 23.5 per cent growth. The only crop group to record a decline was legumes, which saw a 1.3 per cent drop in
production. However, there was a mixed performance in the traditional crops group, with cocoa recording a 46.5 per cent
increase over the similar quarter in 2008, and coffee declining by 40 per cent as a result of drought during the critical
fruit set period. The Minister declared that 2009 was a good year for the sector, which has shown resilience, despite the
global economic recession. "We have seen for the year, some 490,000 tonnes of food being produced and this volume of
food is similar to what was produced in 2003. What this is saying to me is that the sector has rebounded from the impact
of the series of hurricanes that we have had from 2004 to about 2006," he said. Portland saw the highest increase in crop
production with a 160.9 per cent increase, followed by St. Mary with 92.1 percent and St. Thomas with 69 per cent.
These parishes were hardest hit by Tropical Storm Gustav in September 2008. Dr. Tufton also noted that the growth in
the sector was accomplished despite extended periods of drought as well as an outbreak of the beet army worm. The
Minister is projecting that the growth observed over the last sixth quarters should continue into this quarter of 2010.
IMF says yes to Jamaica loan
KINGSTON, Jamaica - 5 Feb 2010:
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved Jamaica's application for a US$1.27-billion loan, half of which the
country can get immediately. The IMF Board gave the green light for the 27-month Stand-By agreement at a meeting
yesterday morning after over six months of negotiation with the Bruce Golding administration.
A statement from the IMF said US$640 million would be made immediately available, for the most part to ensure that
the local financial institutions in which most of Jamaica’s debt is held, have access to cash to help shore up their
liquidity. It said the loan is aimed at supporting Jamaica’s plan to recover from mounting government debt, weak
economic growth, and the effects of the global economic crisis. The funds will be used to implement a two-year plan that
includes reform of the public sector to substantially reduce the large budget deficit; a debt strategy to reduce debt
servicing costs; and reforms to the financial sector to reduce risks.With the plan in place, the IMF predicts growth rates
in Jamaica to increase from -3.5 percent in 2009 to 0.5 percent by late 2010, and then rise to two percent in 2011.
“Jamaica’s large debt burden has magnified the fallout of the global crisis by limiting the scope for a counter-cyclical
domestic policy response. Fundamental economic reforms are needed to restore fiscal sustainability, safeguard economic
and financial sector stability, and enhance Jamaica’s growth potential,” said IMF Deputy Managing Director Takatoshi
Kato after the Board decision. “The ambitious economic program demonstrates that the authorities are committed to
meeting these challenges.”
Jamaica’s economy has deteriorated in recent years, in part due to the effects of the global economic crisis. In addition,
the country’s large debt burden has magnified the fallout from the global crisis by limiting the scope of government to
implement policies to cushion the negative impact.
Sharp falls of 60 percent in bauxite and aluminum production and exports, and a sharp decline in the amount of funds
sent by Jamaicans living abroad, have led to a contraction in the economy. At the same time, with limited financing
options, the government has had to raise taxes to offset falling revenues.
The IMF said economic reforms are needed to put the public finances on sound footing, and establish the basis for
sustained strong economic growth.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 17
While certain kinds of government spending, such as wages in the public sector, will be reined in, the government plans
to increase spending on better targeted social programmes by 25 percent. A school feeding programme, which provides
breakfast and lunches to children, will benefit from this increase. The government will also increase the amount of cash
transfers to lower-income groups through the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH)
In order to make sure Jamaica’s recovery is sustainable in the long run, the IMF said, the plan also includes a number of
reforms in key areas, including tax policy to improve collection and administration; the public sector, to reduce costs and
increase efficiency; and fiscal responsibility legislation, to improve budget planning, and public financial management,
and make the government more accountable. Approval of the Stand-By Arrangement is expected to generate about
US$1.1 billion in funding from other international financial institutions.
Caribbean Agro-Economics Society
CAES honours three with lifetime achievement awards
Trinidad and Tobago Guardian - 25 Feb 2010, Business p.A29
The Caribbean Agro-Economics Society held its fourth New Year dinner and award ceremony on February 16 at the
University of the West Indies (UWI) Social Club. Dr Ranjit Singh, Bruce Lauckner and Hesdie Grauwde were bestowed
with distinguished contributor award, in the category of lifetime achievement award.
Dr Ranjit Singh
Singh first became a member of CAES when he joined the Department of Agricultural Economic and Extension, Faculty
of Science and Agriculture, UWI, St Augustine. He was first elected to CAES executive in 1984 serving as secretary
from 1984-1986. He also served as president for two terms. As director of publications, he edited many of CAES
conference proceedings and was editor-in-chief of Farm and Business, Journal of the Caribbean Agro-Economics Society
(now merged with Tropical Agriculture, Trinidad).
Hesdie Grauwde studied various aspects of agriculture and agricultural economics in Holland. He read for an MSc
(agricultural economics) at the UWI, during which time, he became acquainted with the Caribbean Agro-Economic
Society. He later went on to be the representative for Suriname in Caricom agricultural matters and was instrumental in
the conceptualisation of Cariforum, which proposal was accepted by the heads of government of Caricom in 1992. He
joined the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in Barbados in 1996 as a policy officer and,
it is this position, he greatly facilitated the operations of the society, especially in fund-raising and in the organisation of
conferences in Barbados and Suriname.
Bruce Lauckner is currently the head of strategic alliances and biometrician at Caribbean Agricultural Research and
Development Institute (CARDI). He first joined the CAES in 1977 when he attended the CAES conference in
Antigua. More recently, Lauckner has served on the executive as president, treasurer, T&T representative and ordinary
member. The Caribbean Agro-Economic Society was formally launched on April 8, 1974, at the Ninth West Indies
Agricultural Economics Conference in Jamaica.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 18
The major activity of the society has been the organisation of the annual West Indies agricultural economics conferences.
This conference series started in February 1966 at the UWI. Some of the society’s objectives include providing a forum
for the examination of all agricultural institutions, policies, systems and practices in the region; and focusing attention on
the economic problems of agricultural production and marketing with a view to improving economic efficiency.
Agriculture in the News – February 2010, compiled by CARDI 19