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CaFAN holding workshop for capacity-building programme

CaFAN holding  workshop for  capacity-building programme

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On April 4 -5, 2011, CaFAN (Caribbean Farmers Network) and PIP will organise a workshop in St Lucia with the view of identifying the network’s needs and to put in place a capacity-building programme for Caribbean farmers focused on two areas:{{more}} i) Training of trainers from the CAFAN’s 13 member countries, which will cover areas such as food safety, traceability; ii) Development of the organisation’s capacities in terms of exchange of information, communication and creation of partnerships among its members.

PIP is a cooperation programme financed by the European Union and working to support the horticultural sector. It was implemented at the request of the African – Caribbean – Pacific (ACP) Group of States and is managed by COLEACP, an inter-professional association that represents and defends the collective interests of ACP producers/exporters and EU importers of fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants.

Over the past nine years, PIP has helped fruit and vegetable producers/exporters in 28 countries –mainly in Africa and the Caribbean- to comply with EU food safety requirements. These companies have accounted for over 80% of ACP exports of fresh fruit and vegetables to the EU, from more than 150, 000 smallholder suppliers. Moreover, the PIP strategy fits in with a long-term perspective, since the horticulture sector enablement process is based on the creation of a network of recognized, competent local expertise comprising consultants, trainers, producer organizations, public sector service providers, schools, etc.

Since October 2009, due to new and evolving regulatory and market requirements, a second phase of the programme was launched: besides food safety, the remit of PIP’s activities has been enlarged to also include issues such as the respect of the environment and ethical production/trade.

Based on its experience and on PIP’s accomplishments during the first phase of the programme, the COLEACP takes the view that the significant progress achieved by the fruit and vegetable export sector in recent years should also benefit productions for local markets and foster the modernisation of Caribbean agriculture.

‘We wish to ensure that the interests and role of small producers are taken into account and that our members acquire a larger share of the value chain’ said Jethro Greene, during its visit to COLEACP Brussels’ Office in early February 2011. He insisted on the fact that CaFAN’s main goals is to position small producers on more profitable markets or in segments with higher added value, such as marketing in local and regional distribution circuits, promotion of local productions in food services for tourists and exports. “Whether for export or local consumption, we know that our production has to meet high quality and food safety standards,” continues Greene.

CaFAN was set up in 2004 as a regional network of national farmers’ organisations and NGOs operating in the agricultural sector in 13 Caribbean countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. The admission of Haiti and the Dominican Republic is currently under consideration. The network represents around 500,000 families of small producers.

Small producers’ know-how can be combined with appropriate technical assistance advantageously: “Provided of course that such technical assistance directly benefits small producers on the ground! In this respect, PIP’s expertise in all aspects of food safety can undeniably help our members and the Caribbean fruit and vegetable sector to meet more effectively the requirements of markets and consumers,” concludes Greene.

The official opening ceremony will begin on Monday, April 4th, at 9:00am.

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