PRODUCTIVITY levels among the Caribbean's farmers are expected to be significantly boosted with the implementation of a $20 million Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded project, dubbed the ‘Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages' (PROPEL).
The five-year project aims to position some 28,000 small farmers in over eight Caribbean nations, including Jamaica, to provide an adequate and consistent supply of agricultural products to large purchasers, such as hotels and airlines within the region, by enhancing their capacity.
Benefits which are expected to accrue to beneficiary stakeholders include the building of a more integrated regional economy; fostering economic growth; and increased incomes to farmers.
Implementation of PROPEL is being spearheaded by the non-government organisation, Canadian Hunger Foundation (CHF), which has provided a contribution of $1 million. The CHF, which has been operating in the Caribbean for over 18 years, has successfully demonstrated its ability to develop the capacity of producer groups and institutions through a range of projects.
Development Officer for CIDA, Sekeywi Carruthers, said the project, the office for which will be based in Barbados, will be rolled out on a phased basis within the eight countries targeted for initial implementation over the next two to three years. In addition to Jamaica, there will be Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.