CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — The European Union is financing a project aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of small-scale coconut farmers by identifying market opportunities, creating synergies between national and regional programmes and improving access to advisory services for improved production.
The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) in partnership with the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) and the EU are implementing the Euro3.5 million (One Euro=US$1.29 cents) project.
The project will be undertaken in nine Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries.
CARDI said that within recent years the demand for coconuts and coconut bi-products has skyrocketed on both the regional and world markets.
“Many Caribbean countries have been unable to satisfy this growing demand due to setbacks experienced by industries in the early 1980s. Principal among these have been the loss of international markets for traditional products, loss of consumer confidence, aging populations and growing pest and disease problems.”
CARDI said it welcomed the support to revitalise the coconut industry in the Caribbean because of its “significant potential to contribute to economic development and poverty reduction in the benefiting countries”.
Phase one of the project will engage national stakeholders in formulating road maps for market-led development of the coconut and coconut products sector, as well as to agree on implementation plans.