By JoEllen Laryea
BARBADOS / GUYANA – The Caribbean Export Development Agency will host the region’s first agricultural technology investment summit on October 5-7, 2021. The high-level event will feature a keynote address from His Excellence, Dr Irfaan Ali, president of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. Guyana holds lead responsibility for agriculture, agricultural diversification and food security for CARICOM.
“The Caribbean is one of the most food-insecure regions on our planet. COVID-19 has once more shown this acute vulnerability and the imperative of boosting food security. Given our challenges such as small size, technology is a valuable friend of our agricultural sector. As digital technologies transform the agricultural sector globally, we in the Caribbean have no option but embrace these new possibilities to give food security to our people. We will also reap the many attendant benefits such as creating precious jobs, exports, boosting trade and driving growth by creating new opportunities for Caribbean people,” shared Deodat Maharaj, executive director at Caribbean Export.
Digital technologies are transforming agriculture and food production. The Caribbean is blessed with great economic potential and growth opportunities and is widely recognised for its tourism prowess and historical trade in agricultural produce. However, as the region faces a burgeoning food import bill, heightened concerns regarding non-communicable diseases, exposure to the vagaries of weather due to climate change and natural disasters, food security has become an imperative part of sustainable development.
The Caribbean AgTech Investment Summit will showcase opportunities for agricultural technology companies in the Caribbean and globally to invest. The event will feature AgTech success stories and provide information on the business environment in the Caribbean, and the support mechanisms available to potential investors interested in exploring the region as an AgTech investment destination.
“The investment promotion agencies within the region stand ready to provide one stop shop services to potential investors who are interested in exploring investment opportunities in the AgTech sector,” notes Annette Mark, president of the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA).
CAIPA, in addition to the Caribbean Agribusiness Association (CABA) and COLEACP are collaborating partners for the hosting of the event.
“AgTech can bring practical and transformative solutions to the Caribbean agrifood sector. They can bring greater efficiency, traceability and quality at all stages of the value chain, from production, to processing and marketing” says Jeremy Knops, general delegate of COLEACP.
The Caribbean governments have set an ambitious target to realise 25 percent reduction in the food import bill over the next five years (until 2025). Attracting partners who will be investing in the use of technological advancements and innovation in agricultural production and agro-processing will ensure that this target is achieved and sustainable jobs are created in the region.