The 17th Caribbean Week of Agriculture was locally launched on September 7th at the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, which is hosting the event at Superclub Breezes from October 9-13.
It is the first time the event is being hosted in The Bahamas. Under the theme ‘Accelerating Vision 25 by 2025, the conclave will feature key regional decision makers from both the public and private sectors.
“This conclave aims to showcase the achievements and challenges in the agricultural sector, promote collaboration and knowledge exchange,” said Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Hon. Clay Sweeting.
“We will hear from experts from around the region who will share their knowledge and best practices, which will guide our actions towards reaching the goal of Vision 25 by 2025.”
It will include 40 technical sessions on animal and plant health, food safety, fisheries, research, innovation, digitalization, youth and women, climate change and trade facilitation.
As customary, there will be a trade show component of agribusinesses and services from micro, small and medium as well as large enterprises to allow business-to business engagements and extra-regional trading opportunities.
The trade show will boast 40 booths that will exhibit agricultural produce and technologies with the aim of linking buyers and suppliers, particularly for The Bahamas’ tourism market. A new feature will be a culinary booth to showcase how local produce could be integrated in local food systems and generate economic returns.
A Special Meeting of the Council of Trade and Economic Development (Agriculture) will also be held, where Ministers will address major policy issues, such as increasing agricultural production and trade, agricultural health and food safety.
“Transforming our agri-food system requires that we assess and address challenges and opportunities now confronting the region’s agriculture sector. Foremost among those challenges is the need for greater food and nutrition security,” said President of Guyana and Lead Head of Government in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet, His Excellency Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
CARICOM Secretary-General Dr. Carla Barnett said CWA 2023 is a pivotal event that will seek to put policy into action to effectively build economic resilience and drive inclusive socio-economic development of CARICOM.
“I express the community’s gratitude to this year’s host, the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and to the institutions and members of the various planning committees, for their combined efforts. This collaboration augurs well for the sector. We need all hands on deck to transform our agriculture into a sustainable, productive, competitive and food secure block, with healthy and nutritious foods for everyone.
“We must remain focused on reducing the region’s growing food import bill, and on leveraging the agricultural sector to enhance and empower our women, young people and our rural communities,” she said.
CWA 2023 will also award a Youth Farmer of the Year and a Farmer of the year.