As part of the 13th Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2014 (CWA - 2014) hosted in Suriname by the Ministry of Agriculture, Husbandry and Fisheries, the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN) held a CaFAN Farmers Leader Meeting organized by Mr. Jethro Greene from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Chief Coordinator of CaFAN , and coordinated by Mr.Reinier Taus from Suriname, Director of the Institute for Food and Management – IFM. The theme of this Caribbean Week of Agriculture is ‘Transforming Caribbean Agriculture through Family Farming’. The venue of the CaFAN Meeting was Torarica Hotel, Paramaribo, Suriname.
CaFAN is a non-profit, non-governmental regional farmer organization for assisting small farmers to improve the quality of their life. CaFAN was formed and initiated by farmer organizations across the Caribbean in 2002 and presently represents over 500,000 small farmers spread across fifteen Caribbean countries, including Suriname. CaFAN is focusing on the unity of farmers while promoting farming as a viable and sustainable business using value chain tools and business models.
A well-chosen company of key farmers and agriculture farmer leaders from Suriname, the wider Caribbean and Pacific Region, key persons and special (University) experts attended this Meeting.
The Meeting, held on Friday October 10th, was sponsored by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) which is a key partner of CaFAN. The representative of CTA, Mr. Samson Vilvil Fare was present at the Meeting and gave a brief review regarding the assistance of CTA directly to organizations and ACP-EU linkages for strengthening the capacity of small farmers. He said ‘let people hear the farmers’ voice’.
In his openings speech, Mr. R. Taus thanked the Minister of Agriculture, Husbandry and Fisheries Mr. Soeresh Algoe for the excellent efforts made in successful organizing this CWA-2014. Mr.Taus thanked the Program manager of this CWA, Mr. P.Tjang A Tjoi for his excellent cooperative contributions. Mr. Taus said ‘that we are here because we want to contribute to food security, to economic growth of the agricultural sector and to commercial and marketing driven family farming’. Mr. Taus said further that ‘we don’t want to see the small farmer, the family farmer being a poor man, a poor lady, or a poor family anymore’. He stressed that the small farmer, the family farmer has to become a farmer entrepreneur with entrepreneurial skills.Mr. Greene stated that we must realize that ‘food does not come from the supermarket, you have to produce it’. He outlined the benefits for farmers when working together in unity. For example, when dealing with governments the output can be much higher than when you are alone as farmer or with a small group. In his presentation regarding Rural Advisory Services , Mr. Neil Gomez from Antigua outlined how it can support our agriculture to advance. Mr. Neil said that it is shown that maximal output is realized when private organisations provide these services.
Mr. Riekhnath Sanchit from Eco-Caribbean/VEAPS-Suriname, gave a brief overview of the state on the non-rice agriculture sector in Suriname. He outlined the sustainable development possibilities and the constraints to be tackled in the horticultural sector in Suriname.
A main purpose of the Meeting was to establish a CaFAN Network in Suriname. The Meeting took a keen interest with positive and constructive discussions for setting up this CaFAN Network. At the end of the Meeting the participants gave themselves a thunderous applause for the installation of a CaFAN Focal Point in Suriname .
With this press release the Chief Coordinator Mr. Jethro Greene of CaFAN is pleased to announce the launching of a CaFAN Focal Point Committee in Suriname headed by Mr. Reinier Taus with a team consisting of Mrs. Lydia Ori, Mr. Rieknath Sanchit, Mrs. Loes Trustfull and Mr. Jephte Derveau.
The Focal Point Committee will focus on sustained profitable markets for farmers to drive in agriculture as a business so that young people will be encouraged. Cooperation with university and other educational institutions should further strengthen youth involvement in agriculture as a profitable business.
In entering export markets, efforts will be made to get rid of non-tariff barriers.
The Committee will develop sustainable strategies to combat new pests and diseases emerged as a result of climate change and climate variations.
The Committee will assist in farmers exchange programs within the Caribbean region to enhance agriculture development with special focus on small farmers.
Finally the Focal Point Committee want to stress that they will work with all farmers and farmer organisations to ensure it develop priority programs of the farmer for inclusion in the CaFAN strategic plan.
CaFAN is a net work of farmers organizations in 15 Caribbean countries