Агропродовольственная экономика

Shaping policy and investment

An interview with colleagues from TCI and ESA discuss a unique collaboration effort with the Caribbean Development Bank to produce a regional state of food report


The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has tapped colleagues in TCI to assist in the preparation of future agriculture sector policies for the Caribbean region. The request in the first phase of the collaboration consists of data gathering to create a state of food report for 19 borrowing countries of the CDB, in which future policies can be shaped based on the results of the surveying.

Due to the nature and complexity of the project, TCI brought in FAO’s policy heavyweights in ESA due to their prior wealth of knowledge in the creation of state of reports for the Organization – namely SOFA and SOFI.

We spoke with economists in ESA and TCI, Carlos Mielitz, Cristian Morales, Roble Sabrie and Dino Francescutti, to learn more about the upcoming project.

How did this all come about?

The current CDB agriculture strategy was prepared back in 1981, and in light of the substantial changes and growing challenges including food insecurity, climate change and greater international competition in commodity markets, the bank requested a fresh diagnosis and strategic positioning to better serve its borrowing member countries (BMCs). The CDB and TCI have a cooperative agreement as well as a successful partnership in preparing investments and country strategies. In this positive context, the bank approached TCI to start the discussion on how to collaborate in this exercise. After, TCI contacted ESA to begin discussions on the collaboration of the policy diagnosis, and work began in September, 2017. The regional scope was new for ESA, but the challenge presented itself as a new opportunity to gain experience working in a new context.

Throughout this project, both teams have received support from colleagues working behind the scenes to ensure effective execution of the project.

What is the opportunity for FAO to provide policy and investment advice to the CDB?

TCI facilitates policy dialogue, undertakes sector analyses, conducts value chain studies and advises governments on policy and legislation. This is a valuable opportunity to bring FAO’s vision, knowledge and values into a sectoral strategy that will guide and shape the CDB’s BMCs’ investment in the agriculture sector in the next 15 to 20 years.

ESA is involved in several policy reforms and support activities at the country level around the world. For ESA, this is a unique opportunity to construct the base of agriculture investment policy with the most relevant investment bank for small islands in the region. There are many opportunities for positive effects from the collaboration, which include poverty reduction and the improvement of the lives of smallholder farmers.

How do you all complement each other in this project?

This collaboration with the CDB has two phases. The first will deliver a study on the agriculture sector in the BMCs. Based on the findings, the second phase will feed the CDB agriculture and policy strategy. ESA is the focal point for FAO’s research and policy analysis on agricultural and economic development. ESA has a comparative advantage in data and trends analysis and will play an important role in the preparation of the study and will complement TCI’s leading role in investment. TCI is the division in permanent contact and collaboration with most of the development banks around the world, so we are very complementary in our skills.

Are there any expected challenges in carrying out this project?

Here we need to understand the agricultural marketing system. It is impossible to understand the challenges facing efforts to eliminate poverty in these countries without understanding the role of markets and the agricultural marketing system and for that we need good analysis and good data. In this study, we aim to address challenges that will be presented in the number and diversity of the BMCs: 19 countries to be included in this study which range from small islands to large continental countries. The availability of data will present a significant challenge, but we hope these efforts will strengthen the use of various analyses in policy reforms.

What is important is that FAO is actively involved in shaping policy and investment for the future of agriculture in the Caribbean – the challenges are well worth the opportunities. 

Read the CDB press release.