BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Two new projects financed by the European Union (EU) are set to advance efforts in poverty reduction and the exportability of goods and services, in St Vincent and the Grenadines by increasing opportunities in agriculture says the director of projects at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Daniel Best.
The two initiatives are the National Standardisation and Certification of Exportable Services Providers Project and the Food Safety Certification System for Livestock Production and Trade in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Project.
According to Best: “It is no small task to rebound and rebalance a small open economy which has been affected by multiple shocks, a health crisis and a volcanic eruption. Recognising these exigencies, the Bank through these two projects and other programmes, is keenly assisting with national recovery.”
Felipe De La Mota, team leader, regional integration and trade at the EU stated that the projects “support the development of human capital in the services sector leading to the generation of income and foreign exchange, the establishment of new businesses, and the development of specialty services. Further, value would be derived with the creation of employment opportunities, market penetration and expansion, economic growth, poverty reduction in rural communities, decreased unemployment and an increase in knowledge of best practices.”
Kesal Peters minister of state with responsibility for foreign affairs and foreign trade in St Vincent and the Grenadines indicated at the launch on May 10 that the initiatives would assist the private sector to enhance productivity and competitiveness and attain strong sustainable economic growth.
The education project’s training component was highlighted by the minister of education and National Reconciliation, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Curtis King, added: “A key component in building this new economy is the education and training of our people. The new paradigm has seen and continues to see huge sums of investment in the education and training of our people, as we seek to deliver education and training that are relevant, of high quality, accessible to all and lifelong,” citing gaps which limit the person’s able to exploit the economic value in markets the minister welcomed the project.
The permanent secretary at the ministry of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transformation and labour, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Nerissa Gittens McMillan, also noted that farmers must expand their production facilities to a scale that allows for the production of a premium but price competitive product.
These adjustments must meet international certification standards, the Food Safety Certification System for Livestock Production and Trade in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Project will aid in this regard. Further, the development of the burgeoning Spa Sector would prepare and position the sector for greater exportability, develop a cadre of certified musical professionals and a system of continued certification for increased professionalism and to access new markets and enhance the capacity of other CSME approved vocations such as Security Guards and Domestics.
Yvanette Baron-George, deputy programme manager, CARIFORUM stated that the country’s decision to adopt the CARICOM food safety standards for poultry meat and meat products is a step in the right direction to increase product quality and health and wellness offerings locally and beyond.
The CDB managed Standby Facility, which is supporting the two initiatives, is part of a wider programme of support by the EU for the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), that will improve Innovation and Intellectual Property rights, Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary measures, capacity building in the areas of Competition, Public Procurement, and Customs and Trade facilitation.
It also supports CDB’s strategic objective of reducing poverty and transforming lives through sustainable, resilient and inclusive development. The two grants of over EUR 376,000 have been provided to the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines for the projects.