‘Not even a pandemic will stop us from doing what is necessary for the advancement of regional agriculture’
Fancy hazarding a guess as to who made this statement?
You’d be forgiven for thinking of some Israeli politician. After all, the determination that underpins the statement is the hallmark of the Israeli approach to agriculture.
The correct answer, however, lies further afield. This sentence featured in the keynote speech given by the Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha (Agriculture Minister of Guyana and Chair of the region’s Ministerial Task Force on Food Production and Food Security) at the launch of the 2021 Caribbean Week of Agriculture.
This event, and the grit shown by its organisers, could not be more timely. The Caribbean faces several significant agricultural challenges ranging from extreme weather, insufficient transport infrastructure, scarce land and slow productivity growth. As a result, many Caribbean countries rely extensively on food imports, a situation that leaves them unduly vulnerable to supply chain disruptions and price increases.
The Caribbean is a key region of focus for Volcani International Partnerships. We believe Israel has much to offer the Caribbean: its unparalleled expertise, world-leading innovations, and recent experience successfully achieving an agricultural revolution in the face of many challenges make Israel an ideal partner.
Efforts to harness the best Israel has to offer for the benefit of Caribbean agriculture are now well under way. Here are some examples of upcoming Israeli engagements in the region:
Caribbean AgTech Investment Summit (5-7th October):
Organised by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, the Caribbean AgTech Investment Summit will explore opportunities for agricultural technology companies in the Caribbean.
Our Executive Director, Danielle Abraham, will be speaking on the summit’s first day: sharing valuable lessons from Israel’s agricultural revolution, highlighting agtech trends, and discussing their relevance for the Caribbean.
To attend, you can register for free via this link: https://www.caribbeanagribusiness.org/
Our Israel AgriWeb program is a unique digital extension program that harnesses the best of Israel’s agricultural expertise to directly assist and support farmers.
Earlier this year, we ran a pilot of the AgriWeb program throughout the Caribbean. This was a resounding success: counting some 1500 participants from over 48 countries.
In light of this success, we are planning to deliver the first full instalment of this program in the Caribbean. We are currently working to design an impactful curriculum tailored to the challenges faced by Caribbean farmers.
To this end, we have recently published a survey enabling Caribbean farmers to highlight key crops and challenges. If you are a Caribbean farmer, please complete this survey and share it with your peers: https://forms.gle/EDTZNSKfyDFEzWjf8
Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2021 (4-8th October):
Organised by CARICOM, the FAO, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) is a key forum to discuss the challenges and opportunities in Caribbean agriculture.
CWA organisers have sought to ensure attendees can learn more about the Israeli agricultural experience. To this end, the CWA will feature a presentation by Professor Sheenan Harpaz: an advisor to Volcani International Partnerships who has served as Adjunct Professor at Bar Ilan and Ben Gurion Universities, and worked for Israel’s national agricultural research center (the Volcani Institute) where he notably held the role of Director of R&D from 2011 to 2016.
Free registration for the CWA is available via the following link: https://cwa2021.caricom.org/