The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) has been lauded by Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, for its continuous work to develop the local agricultural sector.
Addressing IICA’s 2019 Accountability Seminar recently, at the ministry’s, Graeme Hall, Christ Church headquarters, Minister Weir noted that the two had a long and productive relationship, and highlighted some of their recent successful collaborations.
They included the provision of training in apiculture, which was done with the assistance of the Embassy of Argentina and the Barbados Beekeeping Association.
He further commended IICA for its push to develop professional farmers and agro-processors through National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) and Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) training and certification.
“Going forward, IICA is poised to assist NVQ and CVQ training and certification under the ministry’s recently launched Farmers Empowerment and Enfranchisement Drive,” he added.
A key aspect of IICA’s current work in Barbados is the strengthening of the linkages between agriculture and tourism.
Minister Weir disclosed that IICA, along with the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation, was “supporting the preparation of three major proposals for funding under the 11th European Development Fund in Agro-tourism linkages, which will focus mainly on the story of Sugar and Rum, Culinary Heritage and Policy Framework”.
These resulting projects, according to the minister, were expected to aid in job creation, revenue generation, product development and diversification, and the developing of new, lucrative markets.
Expressing gratitude to IICA, Minister Weir said the organization had “left no stone unturned in fulfilling its mandate as far as Barbados is concerned”, adding that he looked forward to future collaborations.
During her address, IICA Representative to Barbados, Ena Harvey, reiterated the agency’s commitment to enhancing agriculture in Barbados.
She noted that aside from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, IICA also worked with the Ministries of Education, Technological and Vocational Training; Tourism; and Health and Wellness; farmers’ organizations; non-governmental organizations and other developmental partners to meet the needs of the local agri-food sector.
Mrs. Harvey also disclosed that IICA Barbados was working on several projects under its National Strategic Plan. The focal areas include: small ruminant development, health and food safety, sustainable agriculture, women and youth.