Wednesday, 25 June 2014

IICA and CTO to push agri-tourism

Grenada and other members of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation are expected to benefit from a four-year agreement signed between the organisation and one of the leading agriculture organisations in this region.

The Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) have signed an agreement aimed at strengthening ties between the two sectors and increasing the involvement of Caribbean producers in the region’s tourism industry.

According to the agreement, which was signed in New York during the recently concluded Caribbean Tourism Week in New York, the organi-sations will endeavour to strengthen the political and institutional frameworks of Caribbean agriculture and tourism in order to facilitate commercial and investment partnerships, and increase the sharing of information, success stories and good business practices.

The types of tourism in which agriculture and rural areas could play a bigger role are those related to the region’s agro-ecology, cuisine, culture and heritage, as well as activities involving rural communities and health and well-being.

The agreement said that the partners will promote capacity building in value chains, agricultural regions as tourist destinations as part of CTO advertising campaigns, and the preparation of studies to quantify the contributions that agriculture and tourism make to one another.

“Through joint work with the CTO, IICA can make a tangible contribution to efforts to create more opportunities for the development of rural areas and improvement of the living conditions of agricultural producers by working more closely with the tourism industry,” observed Ena Harvey, a specialist in agro-tourism and co-ordinator of IICA’s regional management and integration for the Caribbean.

“It is a win-win relationship. Our cuisine is one of our tourism’s most attractive and authentic products, and this partnership can enable visitors to have memorable experiences, increase the economic independence of producers and help reduce the food import bill in the Caribbean,” remarked Secretary General of the CTO, Hugh Riley.

The CTO, which numbers more than 30 countries and private organisations among its members, has its headquarters in Barbados and offices in New York and London. Its relationship with IICA began more than a decade ago.

Only last week, the Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB) launched a six-year strategic plan with increasing the value chain as one of its priorities.

One of the outputs of the MNIB plan is to strengthen the role and linkage between tourism and agriculture, as both play and will continue to play a pivotal role in the development of the country. (LS)

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