Cayman Islands Agriculture Minister; ‘this is an exciting time for agriculture’ – as CARDI expands it membership base

The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) is pleased that the Cayman Islands is now a member of the CARDI family. “This is an exciting time for the agriculture sector here in the Cayman Islands. Becoming a member of the CARDI family will certainly enhance our ability to grow our agri-tourism business and will go a long way to assist our farming community, enabling them to produce better quality products for our ever growing market“. The Minister’s words echo the facilitating role of CARDI across the Region in agriculture research for development.

Kurt Tibbetts, Minister of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure, Cayman Islands further shared his thoughts on the role of agriculture in the economy of the Cayman Islands. When "viewed from a more holistic perspective, the agricultural sector is indeed very important, contributing significantly in a number of areas, including food and nutrition security; culinary tourism; and cultural preservation. Accordingly, agriculture needs to continue to be nurtured, supported and further developed to its full potential building on these key areas of contribution."

Kurt Tibbetts, Minister of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure, Cayman Islands further shared his thoughts on the role of agriculture in the economy of the Cayman Islands. When “viewed from a more holistic perspective, the agricultural sector is indeed very important, contributing significantly in a number of areas, including food and nutrition security; culinary tourism; and cultural preservation. Accordingly, agriculture needs to continue to be nurtured, supported and further developed to its full potential building on these key areas of contribution.”

He underscored that “the Cayman Islands Government has always placed a great deal of significance on supporting the agricultural sector as can be seen by the consistent commitment of current and past Governments and Ministers to supporting the Department of Agriculture, providing financial support for farmers, support of the annual National Agricultural Show and developing a strong national quarantine system. Government’s active support for agricultural marketing and agri-tourism initiatives has contributed directly to the growing success of the local farmers’ market – the ‘market at the grounds‘.”

Minister Tibbetts opined that “the fact that Government has resuscitated efforts to join CARDI also speaks volumes. This Government recognizes that the Department of Agriculture needs additional support to further develop the agricultural sector in these islands. In these times when budgetary constraints are the norm, Government views this as an opportunity of obtaining such support, through partnership with a regional organization of excellence.”

In terms of what is the supportive role the Cayman Islands Government sees CARDI providing for the agriculture sector in the Cayman Islands, the Minister had this to say. “As a regional Center of Excellence, CARDI can offer a range of much needed support to the ongoing development of agriculture in the Cayman Islands through access to technical information, responding to farmers’ needs, forging strategic linkages with other international organizations and access to agricultural experts throughout the region. Access to CARDI’s wealth of technical information in terms of fact sheets, technical publications and proceedings of regional conferences, developed over its many years of working in the region will be an invaluable resource which can be utilized to further agriculture locally. CARDI’s institutional links both regionally and internationally will enable the Cayman Islands Government and by extension the agriculture sector to gain access to projects and programmes that, as an Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands, would otherwise not normally have the opportunity to be a part of...”

CARDI also provides the opportunity for a wide range of technical assistance and services by enabling the Cayman Islands to ‘tap-in‘ to its pool of technical expertise both in house and within the region. As a small department, the Cayman Islands Department of Agriculture does not have the resources to hire the range of staff to address all of the issues and challenges confronting the sector. Through this pool of technical expertise we will be able to access human and other resources needed to address identified challenges and to take advantage of opportunities to further develop the sector. Such support would be invaluable in a multitude of areas, including assistance with production issues, crop protection and animal health, market research and analysis, agri-business support and programmes and policy development, such as the creation of a national Food and Nutrition Security Policy for the Cayman Islands.”

Executive Director, Dr. Arlington Chesney says ‘welcome to the CARDI family‘ to the Cayman Islands!

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