While there are challenges, emanating from the liberalisation of agricultural trade, there are also many opportunities arising from the expansion of trade as a whole.
This disclosure was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Business, Christopher Sinckler, last Monday evening while addressing the opening ceremony of a four-day workshop organised by the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN) in collaboration with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation on “Agricultural Trade Facilitation”, at the Savannah Hotel.
Mr. Sinckler told the participants which comprised stakeholders and farmer representatives from over 12 Caribbean countries that some of the benefits that would emerge from the liberalisation of trade would include access to larger markets, as well as access to new technologies. He said this could assist in keeping the sector at the cutting edge of efficiency.
He also noted that the removal of tariffs to allow for greater competition among countries, will add to the challenges of a sector already burdened with such factors as uncertainty of rainfall, uncertainty of output due to such things as pests, and uncertainty of prices.
“The challenge arising from trade liberalisation is that of producing agricultural goods at a price and at a quality which can compete either at home or abroad,” the Minister underscored.
The Foreign Minister told the gathering that their meeting was an important once since it would assist in identifying the specific issues which we in the region should raise with our trading partners as affecting our trade.
CaFAN, a network of regional farmers association, is based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.