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Tuesday, 08 February 2011

Caribbean: bring back small producers to heart of fruit & vegetables supply chain

In early February, Mr Jethro Green, President of the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN), visited the COLEACP-PIP. The CaFAN, set up in 2004, is a regional network of national farmers' organisations and NGOs operating in the agricultural sector in 13 Caribbean countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. The admission of Haiti and the Dominican Republic is currently under consideration. The network represents around 500,000 families of small producers. 'We wish to ensure that the interests and role of small producers are taken into account and that our members acquire a larger share of the value chain.' One of the organisation's main goals is to position small producers on more profitable markets or in segments with higher added value, such as marketing in local and regional distribution circuits, promotion of local productions in food services for tourists and exports. Another of the CaFAN's aims is the exchange of know-how, information and training so as to build the capacities of small producers over the long term: 'Whether for export or local consumption, we know that our production has to meet high quality and food safety standards', continues Jethro Green. He adds that small producers' know-how can be combined with appropriate technical assistance advantageously: 'Provided of course that such technical assistance directly benefits small producers on the ground! In this respect, PIP's expertise in all aspects of food safety can undeniably help our members and the Caribbean fruit and vegetable sector to meet more effectively the requirements of markets and consumers', concludes Mr Greene.

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