Oficina Regional de la FAO para América Latina y el Caribe

FAO and CARICOM launch virtual course on Agriculture in International Trade Agreements

More than 200 professionals from the Caribbean will follow a four-week training course on international agreements on agriculture and international agrifood trade.

Participants during the training

Over 200 government officials and professionals from the Caribbean started this April 26th, 2023, a virtual course on Agriculture in International Trade Agreements (AITA), held by the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The course combines online self-paced modules with live webinars on broad conceptual frameworks and approaches on international agreements on agriculture and international agrifood trade in the Caribbean. The first webinar focused on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and regional trade agreements (RTAs) and aimed to support policy makers to develop and implement appropriate agricultural development and food security strategies.

Dr Renata Clarke, FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, opened the session reminding that “the architecture for food security in the Caribbean has a distinctly regional foundation, and for this to work there needs to be much better production planning; concerted effort in reducing barriers to trade, posed by differing regulations and differing interpretations of how regulations should be implemented”. However, Clarke described a “very determined Caribbean community response” to the actual crisis of food prices and agricultural supplies. “It's a privilege to be living in this community awakening and to be called upon, along with other partners, to support this movement”.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador David Prendergast, CARICOM Secretariat Director of Sectoral Programmes, recalled the need to “support policymakers in the region, in balancing the development and implementation of national agricultural development and food security strategies. It is our expectation that at the end of this training, participants will be equipped with deeper knowledge of trade rules and practices and that this will influence how you work to create an enabling environment for export promotion”.

The webinar was moderated by Pablo Rabczuk, Officer responsible for International Trade from FAO Regional Office, and included a presentation by Cosimo Avesani, Trade Policy Analyst from FAO HQ in Rome, and a presentation from Dennis Crawford, Agricultural Specialist, CARICOM Single Market and Trade.

The course will be active until the end of May and is part of FAO´s effort in the region to strengthen capacities on agricultural trade. For the past decades, FAO has taught courses and offered virtual training for thousands of professionals and technicians in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently, the FAO Regional Office and its Capacity Development Area have 12 free self-paced courses in English, tailor made for the Caribbean. And from headquarters in Rome, the FAO eLearning Academy offers 95 free self-paced courses on 25 topics.