The initiative focuses on capacity building and training within the Farmers Organizations for African, Caribbean and Pacific (FO4ACP) project framework
12 December 2022, Castries, St. Lucia – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently collaborated with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to roll out the implementation of the “Capacity Building and Training” for Farmers’ Organizations in St. Lucia under the FO4ACP Programme. The project which is funded by the European Commission thorough The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), attracted eight farmers’ organizations and stakeholders to its recent launch in St. Lucia. The aim of the project is to equip them with knowledge and skill to enable them to function more efficiently, as well as to identify and support the development of economic services, which can generate income for the organization and its members.
Vermaran Extavour, FAO’s Value Chain Expert and Coordinator for FO4ACP activities in Grenada and St. Lucia underscored the interest in understanding the technical difficulties experienced by farmers’ organizations. She reaffirmed the commitment of both organizations to work with the organizations to identity solutions to improve market access and sustain livelihoods.
Gregg Rawlins, IICA’s Representative for the Eastern Caribbean States attended the launch and highlighted the importance of implementing the project given the critical role that farmers’ organizations play in developing the agricultural sector. He also indicated that the intervention was timely given the countries current efforts to achieve food and nutrition security.
Pedro Boareto, FAO’s Project Coordinator for the FO4ACP Project in the Caribbean noted the importance that farmer organizations have in identifying the priorities that the different project activities should have in the country, since it is a collective effort to empower them.
Sean Alcindor, Vice President, St. Lucia Pig Farmers Cooperative who also attended the launch, highlighted the importance of data collection. He stated, “Forecasting for production has been very, very limited. One of the things that we hope to do in the near future is to have persons on staff who can go out and collect the data needed to guide production and sales. We also hope that we can continue to partner with FAO on our work with our farmers to have more farmers in production”.
Carmen Nurse, President of The Caribbean Network of Rural Women Producers (CANROP) and former President of Saint Lucia Network of Rural Women Producers who was also a participant indicated, “If you look at the history of family farming you connect with rural women and rural producers. I am in full support of this capacity development work. What we’ve done with the FAO has helped us to see where the next steps should be and how to grow the organization”.
The FAO project supports a more extensive work program funded by IFAD, The European Union and the FO4ACP, which focuses on building the capacity of small producer organizations. IICA is supporting FAO and PROCASUR Corporation in implementing the project components in Grenada and Saint Lucia.
Extavour also noted that because of FAO’s intervention that partner organizations work closer with national farmers’ organizations, agricultural agencies, and implementing partners in 70 countries to increase incomes and improve the livelihoods, food and nutrition security, and safety of organized smallholder and family farmers in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries by strengthening regional, national and local farmers’ organizations.