COTED agrees on new platform to assist regional farmers

COTED agrees on new platform to assist regional farmers

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Agriculture has granted approval for the establishment of a virtual platform to allow for interchanges between extension services and farmers throughout the region.

CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General for Trade and Economic Integration, Joseph Cox, said the platform would be established in association with the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat, the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Trinidad-based Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Agency (CARDI).

He said that the platform would, for example, assist regional farmers encountering challenges by raising them on the platform and allowing them to receive responses, in real-time, from other farmers who may have had experience with the particular problem.

Cox said that it is envisaged as the sort of “strategic interchange to optimise yields”.

The CARICOM Secretariat said that the use of technology in agriculture was one area of focus during the Week of Agriculture that was held in Belize earlier this month.

It said during the weeklong activities, agriculture stakeholders had raised concerns about two diseases that had the potential for devastating consequences if they entered the Caribbean.

“The far-reaching effects of African Swine Fever, and the lethal Tropical Race 4 (TR4) disease which affects bananas, were raised at the Regional Agricultural Planners' Forum as well as at the COTED,” the Secretariat said, with Cox indicating that what made the African Swine Fever “particularly serious” was the fact that the disease had “already wiped out 50 per cent of the pig population” in China.

“We don't have it in the Caribbean and so therefore we have to take this extremely seriously because once it gets into our neck of the woods it can be … problematic because… what the experts have advised is that this disease is resistant to heat, chemical interventions, etc…,” Cox said.

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