The need to create an environment to promote family farming was emphasised when Caribbean Week of Agriculture opened in Paramaribo, Suriname on Wednesday evening. In a short official opening ceremony, welcoming regional ministers of government, farmers, heads of technical and other regional bodies and several groups the need to promote family farming was underscored. The promotion of family farming is the main thrust of this week of activities. Deputy Secretary General, Caricom, Manorma Soeknandan feels that family farming needs the involvement of both the public and private sector to achieve its full potential.
“CWA is therefore an opportunity in developing the appropriate policy and actual recommendations to this end.”
She spoke to the need to create working policy and institutional framework to support family farming.
“Particularly, with respect to education, technology, financing, marketing and other services, in this regard we welcome the establishment of the Caribbean Family Farming working group, supported by FAO, IICA, UWI and other bodies which will address issues of sustainable development of our family farms.
Dr Arlington Chesney , Executive Director, Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development pointed to the need to highlight the business of modernisation as a national or cabinet responsibility and not only as a ministerial or sectoral one.
“it must take all sectors, all partners on hand if we’d have a viable and moderinised agriculture sector.”
In what could be his last address at CWA, as the CARDI Executive Director, Dr Chesney who is retiring at the end of this year called for more support for farmers.
“These family farmers have gone unheralded and in some cases despised in the community.”
And there is a call for this week of agriculture to put forward a definition for family farming. Dr Deep Ford of the Food and Agricultural Organisation said this definition must be clear if a targeted approach is to be devised.
“Because of the range of circumstances under which family farms in the region operate, they are very diverse, this is necessary because we have to have targeted policies, implement targeted policies directed at family farmers, this includes technology to enhance their productivity, tailored to their specific circumstances, taking into account people and the environment simultaneously.”
Caribbean Week of Agriculture is being held in Suriname under the theme “Transforming Caribbean Agriculture through family farming”.