FAO steps up its partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank
“Obviously the Caribbean is a totally different region, but the CDB is interested in learning from others – how they can improve and where they can invest to really make a difference”
FAO and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) are committed to helping Caribbean countries reposition agriculture toward more inclusive growth, prosperity and sustainability.
The two organizations signed a new agreement signaling their renewed commitment during the 35th FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean in March.
FAO had initiated a study earlier on the state of food and agriculture in the Caribbean – identifying key agricultural trends in the Bank’s borrowing member countries as well as investment opportunities.
The study’s results – initially focusing on Jamaica, Guyana, Grenada and Haiti – will feed into and guide the preparation of the Bank’s new agriculture strategy.
The FAO Investment Centre is working closely with colleagues from FAO’s Agricultural Development Economics (ESA) division and Subregional Office for the Caribbean (SLC) on the study, said Roble Sabrie, an FAO economist and study team member.
“We want to understand the transformation agriculture is currently undergoing in the Caribbean, how it is evolving from classic export crops, like sugar and bananas, and where the sector can reinvent itself. ESA, with its wealth of experience in analyzing the state of food and agriculture, is really well placed to contribute to this process,” he said.
“We’re taking into account the impact of climate change on the sector, from hurricanes and tropical storms, to drought and erosion, which are huge challenges for the Caribbean. We’re also looking at other issues like tourism, job creation, especially for young people, and trade. Many of the countries are small island nations, so trade is really important for their agricultural development,” he added.
Policy, investment and consultative powerhouse
FAO’s partnership with the CDB dates back more than three decades. This new agreement positions FAO as an agricultural policy, investment and consultative powerhouse – driving discussions on key issues for the Caribbean such as agriculture’s economic potential, productivity growth, competitiveness, export promotion and import substitution, food losses, nutritional education and climate-smart agriculture.
The agreement also means that countries with common membership in both organizations are now able to directly engage with FAO and the CDB to obtain and execute loans or grants.
“The CDB is a regional bank, and the member countries feel it is their bank. You can really sense that strong connection,” Sabrie said.