CARDI, EU, ITC and CARIFORUM plan on ‘resuscitating the tree of life’ in the Caribbean

(Photo Courtesy:

November 21, 2014:- Following the successful hosting of a two-day Regional Workshop on “Repositioning the Coconut Industry within nine Caribbean countries for resuscitation and sustainable development”, four Agencies (European Union, International Trade Centre, CARIFORUM and CARDI) have all committed to ‘resuscitating the tree of life’ in the Caribbean.

 Setting the tone for the Workshop was CARDI’s Executive Director, Dr. Arlington Chesney who noted that, “Sessions of this nature allow for funding agencies, strategic partners, research specialists and stakeholders to collaborate on the priority areas, such as the development of the coconut industry for agriculture development in the Region.  The packed room indicates to me that the participating countries have signed on to the critical nature of the contribution of this industry to the sustainable development of the Region.”

 “The coconut industry can provide a significant source of income, particularly to rural and coastal communities and boost trade overall.  Also, coconut growing along coastal areas would have a positive impact on coastal erosion while enhancing coastal landscapes, thus making these areas more attractive for tourists”, commented Kathrin Renner, International Aid Officer of the Delegation of the European Union.  The EU has allocated 3 million Euros (ca. TT$25 million) in the resuscitation and sustainable development of the coconut industry in nine CARIFORUM countries.

 The ITC is an organisation involved in trade and private sector development, a development agency of the United Nations and World Trade Organisation, and with a mission to help with enterprise and trade across the world, particularly focussed on developing countries.  Speaking on the role of the ITC in this Project, Mr. Ian Sayers, Head of Product Sector Development, International Trade Centre in response to the question ‘why is the coconut sector of interest to an organisation such as yours?’ said “there is tremendous potential locked up in the coconut sector, the market conditions and the market opportunities at this particular time are enormous, as all sorts of coconut products are finding a new level of interest from consumers who are becoming more health conscious and are searching for more natural products.  In the first instance, we are trying to make producers gain the competitive edge; make the best use of the coconuts that they do have; and between ourselves and CARDI, we will facilitate the stakeholders in the industry to find their own solutions and benefit from the wider access to the information, research and tools and equipment that they need in order to address product quality and productivity and the competitiveness issues”.

 With a mandate for development cooperation with the EU, Mrs. Karen Dhani-Coonjah, Deputy Programme Manager, Programming, CARIFORUM Directorate said that “it is very important for us to be on board at this very early stage of the project; for CARIFORUM, this is a very important project”.

The main results areas focussed on four outcomes, namely:

  • Market opportunities identified and value chain development plans agreed. 
  • Existing regional and national programmes are made consistent in order to develop synergies and enhance regional integration of the relevant markets
  •  Competitiveness and sector sustainability is enhanced by a wide dissemination of production intensification methods as well as by improving synergies between the different actors involved in value chains
  •  Access to advisory services for improved production, processing and commercialization responding to markets and farmer requirements
  •  Small producers have greater access to risk management instruments, particularly on climate and market risks  

The Workshop held on Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th November, 2014, included representatives from Belize Guyana; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Jamaica; Suriname; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; and Trinidad and Tobago.


CARDI … presenting the ‘facts on agriculture and research for development’.



Contact: CARDI’s Office|868|645|1205/7

United Nations and World Trade Organisation
coconut industry
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