A Bold New Caribbean

The official publication of the Caribbean Investment Forum 2023

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Celebrating 50 Years of Independence: The Bahamas’ Vision for a Stronger, Resilient Caribbean Community

Why you Should Invest in the Caribbean

Caribbean Renewable Energy: From Potential to Powerhouse


Caribbean Export is the regional trade and investment promotion agency focused on building a resilient Caribbean by providing cutting-edge and high-impact support to the private sector. Through working closely with businesses to increase exports and attract investment, we contribute towards the creation of jobs, transformation of our economies and support the Caribbean to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

@caribbeanexport | @caribxport


Foreword ......................................................................................................................................... 2

CARICOM’s 25 by 25 Initiative: A Game Changer ....................................................................... 3

The EU’s Global Gateway in the Caribbean ................................................................................ 7


Celebrating 50 Years of Independence: The Bahamas’ Vision for a ........................................ 11

Why You Should Invest in the Caribbean ..................................................................................... 14

Advantages of Investing in Caribbean Agriculture ................................................................... 20

AgTech and Data Infrastructure Driving Caribbean Agricultural Transformation ................ 21

Caribbean Women in Trade: Transforming the Region’s Agro-Processing Sector .................. 26

Caribbean Renewable Energy: From Potential to Powerhouse ................................................. 29


Is Money Enough To Build A New Caribbean? .............................................................................. 33

Powering a Greener, Cleaner, and Sustainable Future ............................................................... 37

Unlocking Caribbean Opportunities: The Climate-Smart Map Redefining ................................. 41

Caribbean targets FDI in Logistics and Transportation Sector for Economic ......................... 44

The Caribbean Transport and Logistics Sector: A Tale of Two Cities ....................................... 47

An Authentic Avatar Linked-up with a Digital Dweller over Bits and Bytes

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This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Caribbean Export Development Agency and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.


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Steering investments in sectors that can drive the Caribbean’s transforma- tion must be at the epicentre of the Re- gion’s development agenda. This is why we at the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) are steadfast in our commitment to boost the flows of foreign direct investment to our Re- gion as well as stimulate greater intra- regional investment. Given this imper- ative, Caribbean Export conceived of the Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF) as a platform for business to engage with business to create business with a forensic focus on investment. We know that business as usual cannot and will not work.

Consequently, the Caribbean Investment Forum must focus on sectors that can truly drive Caribbean economic transformation creating opportunities for our people. Our focus converges on the transformational sectors of technology, digitalistion and innovation; green economy transition; agriculture technology (AgTech), and logistics and transportation. Armed with a strategy that pools resources across multiple countries to achieve scale, we work closely with business, national and regional institutions to craft opportunities with strong prospects to present at fora such as the Caribbean Investment Forum. Caribbean Export believes that the Caribbean presents massive opportunities for investors. CIF 2023 will see the largest gathering of investors, businesses and key institutions in the Caribbean for the calendar year. The objective is to present projects to investors and foster business-to-business engagements in sectors that can take forward a truly transformational agenda for the Caribbean. This pioneering would not have been possible without the continued strong support of the Euro- pean Union. We also salute the Government of The Bahamas for their strong commitment and partnership and all our partners for their commitment to creating a resilient Caribbean. Looking ahead, we are committed to creating jobs and opportunity for our people with a sustained focus on building “A Bold New Caribbean”.

Deodat Maharaj Executive Director Caribbean Export Development Agency



Dr. Carla N. Barnett, Secretary-General, CARICOM


The CARICOM 25 by 2025 Initiative is an ambitious decision by the Heads of Government of the Ca- ribbean Community (CARICOM) to focus on ag- riculture and advancement of the food systems agenda to ensure access to healthy and nutri- tious food for the people of the Community. It is a game-changing initiative born out of the realisa- tion that we must act to increase food production if we are to survive. The Initiative acknowledges the economic potential of the Region’s agri-food sector to reduce our food import bill (currently US$4.7 billion and growing) by at least 25% by 2025. The model is one of strate- gic partnerships between regional Governments and the private sector, complemented by strategic policy interventions, with a focus on a sustainable future. The initiative also has great potential to assist in addressing the epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes and hyperten- sion, which, in 2007, we committed as a Community to do. The need is even more urgent today, and one critical strategy to address NCDs is to increase the availability of fresh produce to minimize the need to consume food that is heavy in oils, sugar and salt. We must all take steps to minimise the risk of NCDs, and the 25 by 2025 Initiative is one of those important steps through which we can lessen the economic cost to families, businesses, communities and health systems. Adopting this commercialization model for re- gional food systems is a substantial undertaking. It includes strategies to reduce the Region’s food import bill by increasing intra-regional and foreign direct investments and introducing new tech- nologies. Collectively, these will help to boost the Region’s productivity and its capacity to reliably supply quality food at affordable prices. It will also promote resilience and economic prosperity in the Region. Key factors driving commercialisation have generally been identified as effective institutions, improved infrastructure, knowledge management, adequate incentives, stakeholders’ initiatives, and a conducive business environment. Our Region faces several shortcomings in these areas.

Appropriate and effective policies are required to tackle the various obstacles which have been inimi- cal to achieving full commercialization of the Region’s agri-food system. The assumption is that successful implementation of these policies will provide the im- petus for transformative and sustainable expansion of agri-food production. Appropriate and effective policies are required to tackle the various obstacles which have been inimi- cal to achieving full commercialization of the Region’s agri-food system. The assumption is that successful implementation of these policies will provide the im- petus for transformative and sustainable expansion of agri-food production. CARICOM Heads of Government have agreed on regional policy solutions to propel us towards our target of reducing our food import bill and boosting food and nutrition security. These include measures to promote de-risking the sector, such as estab- lishing a National Agricultural Catastrophe Fund, adopting regional investment and incentive systems, implementing a national/regional food security pro- curement policy, identifying alternative financing systems, and completing a framework for the free movement of skilled agricultural workers. They have also agreed to implement an E-Agriculture strategy, which will facilitate modernisation of the agricultural sector through the application of sus- tainable technologies throughout the value-chain. Further policy solutions include actions to achieve the complete removal of all Technical Barriers to Trade, developing a CARICOM Cross Border Agri- Food Investment Strategy to support production corridors, and reforming the Common External Tariff (CET) and rules of origin regimes to protect regional enterprises and support their competitiveness. Im- proving transportation and logistics are critical issues to be addressed through special incentives regimes and regional trade, transport and logistics hubs or corridors, and encouraging investments in produc- tion, research and development to support the sus- tainability of the sector. Regional Policy Solutions

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Our expectation is that implementation of these policy measures will foster an environment to com- mercialise food supply in priority areas, through large scale private sector investment.

Encouraging Youth Participation The “I am Agriculture” campaign demonstrates our commitment to encourage youth participation to transform the agriculture sector. A video series highlighting successful agricultural businesses of young people across the Region was launched, in November 2022, to increase awareness and en- courage further participation by this key demo- graphic. The Agri-Investment Forum held in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago in 2022, the Caribbean Agri- Food Investors Conference held in Guyana in June 2023, and similar forums, such as the annual Carib- bean Week of Agriculture exhibition and seminars, continue to highlight investment opportunities and actions to further bolster the agri-food sector. In January 2023, we established a Youth Adviso- ry Council, comprising young farmers from all 20 CARICOM Member and Associate Member States, so that the voice of our youth will be reflected in the 25 by 2025 Initiative. They are now developing a strategic plan to be approved by the Ministerial Task Force, as the youth contribution to the Initia- tive. Transforming agriculture is a key socio-economic contributor to the inclusive prosperity which we all seek. We look forward to realising the desired out- comes to grow and develop the Region’s agri-food system, foster food and nutrition security, and ad- vance the economic development of the Caribbe- an Community.

CARICOM has made steady progress

Though challenged by climate change, limited hu- man resources, drought and adverse weather pat- terns, CARICOM Member States have made steady progress towards the 25 by 2025 target. Some achievements to date are: + In Barbados, expansion by 100 acres of the Agri- cultural Land Lease Programme; launch of a new USD 7.5 million Tissue Lab, and adoption of a suite of Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Legislation;


+ In Jamaica, launch of a Spice Development Programme;

+ In Trinidad and Tobago, launch of a USD 110,000 model cattle farm and a National Shadehouse Project, and a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on agriculture with Guyana;


+ In Dominica, an increase of over 5% in small rumi- nant production.

+ In St. Lucia, an increase of 5% in local agricultural production, along with a major domestic food se- curity programme. The Region’s efforts have been bolstered by the announcement of a USD 100 million allocation to the Region by the Government of the United States of America, which includes funding for food and security efforts, and support from the European Union (EU) valued at EUR 19 million for a Food Se- curity Support Programme to enhance the envi- ronmental and socio-economic resilience of food systems in the Caribbean.

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By H.E. Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska Head of Delegation, European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM

As EU Ambassador to CARICOM and CARIFORUM, as well as to the OECS, on top of my bilateral represen- tation to Barbados and the OECS countries, I am honoured to play a role shaping and explaining what the European Union has to offer to this wonderful region.


C urrent world events keep testing the resolve of common foundational principles for the Carib- bean and the European Union, such as multilateral- ism, reducing inequalities, and seeking a fairer and more sustainable economic and development model for our citizens to thrive. We have had extreme dis- ruptive events such as the COVID pandemic, which put our societies and economies to one of its tough- est tests, but have also brought us together in facing the threat. Now we face the ongoing consequenc- es of a unilateral war of aggression from Russia on a sovereign country, Ukraine, which has consequently led to an increase of cost of living across the world. In October 2022, the EU Commissioner for Internation- al Partnerships Ms Jutta Urpilainen met in Barbados with Caribbean Ministers and other high-level officials in the first EU-Caribbean Ministerial Meeting in five years. In July 2023, the first EU-CELAC Summit in eight years took place in Brussels, bringing together Heads of Government of Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union. Heads adopted a strong declaration reaffirming how working closer together will be crucial to facing the multiple crises and challenges of our times.

These high-level discussions emphasized the European Union’s renewed engagement with the Caribbean, and provided the impetus to reinforce the importance of the long-standing partnership between the two regions in key areas such as fair and green transitions, clean and sustainable energies, transport infrastruc- ture, and inclusive and a human-centric digital transformation. In short, to strengthen the deep foundations upon which our dynamic relation- ship is built. The Summit was an important opportunity to reaffirm shared values of both regions and to advance the Global Gateway Investment Agenda (GGIA) for Latin America and the Ca- ribbean. The Global Gateway is the EU’s offer to bridge the existing investment gap in the areas of fair, green and digital transition, by using EU public financing to leverage private capital and investment for projects that deliver on key public policy objectives. Overall, Team Europe, EU

institutions and EU Member States working hand in hand, has committed over EUR 45 billion to the partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean until 2027. The GGIA showcases a selection of over 130 projects and priorities across countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to leverage quality investments, identified in the process of thorough consultations with partner countries and the private sector. EU-led investments are not only about finance and expertise, but also about environmental and social high-quality standards. The European Union is a reliable partner to help design sustainable, quality projects and ensure they are implemented in a transparent way, providing financial instruments to limit unsustainable levels of debt and deliver lasting social and economic benefits to local communities. This is at the heart of the EU’s Global Gateway Strategy. The opportunities for working more effectively together as regions and at- tracting EU investments to the Caribbean are evident. The Global Gateway spans key sectors such as renew- able energy decarbonisation, transport infrastructure projects, 5G and connectivity, digitalisation for public services, and sustainable finance and green bonds. Some examples of the EU’s efforts to boost investments in the Caribbean through the Global Gateway include the following initiatives: 1 The EU-LAC Digital Alliance, launched in 2022, is a geostrategic partnership for a human-centric digital transformation, sending a strong signal of confidence to investors and digital stakeholders, and includes e.g. the extension of the BELLA cable, the creation of two regional Copernicus cen- tres for disaster risk reduction, climate change, land and marine monitoring [Chile and Panama], and the LAC Cyber Security Centre in Santo Domingo. An EU-LAC Digital Accelerator will also fos- ter at least 100 new joint ventures between LAC and EU corporates, SMEs and innovative start-ups. The Regional Amazon Basin and the Amazonia+ project, which includes Suriname and Guyana, will contribute to a reduction of deforestation, the prevention of the impact of wildfire and the increase of influence by the indigenous population in decision-making. This is part and parcel of the EU’s support to countries’ policies towards a climate-neutral economy and a resilient society that lives in harmony with nature.

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The new LAC-Health Resilience initiative, which will support the development of local medicines and vaccine manufacturing and health systems resilience, including regulatory frameworks.

The EU Global Green Bonds Initiative, which will foster the development of the green bond mar- ket in the Caribbean, thus mobilising capital for financing a sustainable transition. Our work with partners will include helping create the right conditions for sustainable investment, through stable and predictable legal frameworks, removing discriminatory barriers and focusing on what works for citizens.

We will also help the region address two major Caribbean challenges: the improvement of the maritime connectivity to foster regional integration, economic growth and food security, and ad- dressing the Sargassum algae to convert it from a threat to an economic opportunity.



This is but a sample of how the European Union can partner with the Caribbean region. Importantly, we have a comprehensive trade agreement (the Economic Partnership Agreement) that has opened our mutual mar- kets for trade in goods and services, as well as for establishing business operations. Both are instrumental to fostering economic and investment relations between the European Union and the Caribbean. Europe is looking for ways to open its vibrant private sector eager to tap into Caribbean opportunities and help the region grow further. At the same time, we are happy to share the wealth of expertise in regional integra- tion that has allowed us to have the largest single market in the world. Through our partnership with the Caribbean Export Development Agency , and the sponsorship of the Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF), we will continue to work on establishing these links with investors from both regions.We can learn much from each other, and should maximise the opportunities to do so. The Global Gateway will allow us to do this and more so our regions can get to know each other even better.

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE: The Bahamas’s Vision for a Stronger, Resilient Caribbean Community


By The Hon. I Chester Cooper Deputy Prime Minister, Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas


O n July 10, 2023, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas celebrated 50 years of independence. The preceding months leading up to this major milestone allowed us as a country ample time for re- flection on many of the high points of our post-Independence experiences, as well as those periods from which there were lessons to be learned. We were able to look back and applaud ourselves for 50 years of economic and political stability, continuous overall growth and development, on the great strides made in improving the lives of our citizens and ensuring that our young people are educated appropriately for the future.

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These are by no means insignificant accomplish- ments. These first 50 years have indeed been foundational. Our Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis said recently at one of these anniversary events that, in the spirit of unity, we must ensure that this monumental year is celebrated, hon- ored, and used as the launching point for the new Bahamas that we see in our visions. Adding that, if we are to continue to build a country that all Bahamians can be proud of, we must commit to making this a collective goal. No matter how great or small the contribution of the individu- al, our collective effort must be a singular one, which is to build a stronger, more resilient country for the benefit of all Bahamians. Reflection, however, has not been our sole focus. With the majority of our celebrations behind us, work continues toward securing a future for the country in a region, and a world where the speed of change and progress is ever increasing. We are building on these accomplishments. We are scanning the global horizon in order to make all necessary plans for what the future may pos- sibly bring and how we might best take advan- tage of any emerging opportunities. Some of the challenges we will face, will be common to us all in the region. Wemust ask, howdowe as a region, move away from our dependency on imports to feed ourselves. How do we as a region build sustainable and environmentally viable energy generating al- ternatives to fossil fuels? How do we educate and harness the imaginative fuel of the younger generation to compete on a more level playing field globally?

We must do so by creating opportunities for entrepreneurship, in as many sectors as pos- sible. We have seenwhat awell-developed and diversified tourism product can do for a coun- try. We live an excellent example of this here in The Bahamas. In order to continue as a viable sector however, one that is keeping apace of the evolving global tourism landscape, we are looking to diversify and create opportunities for the next generation, so that they might have greater participation and ownership in this. We want them to be self-determined and filled with self-confidence. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as a re- gional body is too celebrating its 50th anniver- sary this year. Some self-assessment as a body will naturally be part of whatever celebrations are planned. A lot of this has already taken place and is concretely reflected in the CAR- ICOM Secretariat Strategic Plan 2022 – 2030. We understand all too well the Ghanaian concept of Sankofa, which loosely interpreted, means that we look back and gather all that is good from the past to fuel our forward movement. There is much wisdom in this, and based on the outcome of this process, plans are made. Wisdom also teaches us that we cannot go it alone. The Bahamas has chosen to move for- ward with our Caribbean family. This is why CARICOM exists, so that all countries in the re- gion may face the future as one. Several CAR- ICOM members have already observed their 50th anniversaries and so any lessons learned should be shared with the greater collective. Learning from one’s own experience is one thing, gleaning wisdom from the experiences of others also has its benefits.


We are interested in exploring and harnessing new technologies. This will require appropriate skills training and education. We are up to the task and are unafraid.

We must now amplify these positions.

During the official launch of the Caribbean In- vestment Forum in August, I spoke of the need for better passenger and cargo connectivity, that is commercially viable with a business-to-busi- ness focus among countries in this region. This is something that we will need to become the owners of, allowing others to control such a cru- cial aspect of how we move and communicate is already too high a price. The CARICOM Secretariat Strategic Plan 2022 – 2030 speaks to working collectively in order to achieve certain critical community priorities. It speaks to strengthening the technical and or- ganizational leadership on major current issues such as climate change and climate finance: digitization and the primacy of information and communication technology; and in the financial sector, de-risking and the unequal application and ever-changing blacklisting rules. As we gather in The Bahamas from October 23 – 25, for the Caribbean Economic Forum, we must network and brainstorm with these critical issues being foremost in our minds. We must look to network and create synergies that will allow us to level up and become significant players on the global field. We are doing this now in many sectors.


If we are to realize this ‘Bold New Caribbean’ there’s not a moment to be wasted. We all un- derstand the assignment. I am excited to see the outcomes of this latest forum. I am expecting that it will be a watershed conference, where practical sustainable solutions to our collective needs are realized. True to the spirit of CARICOM I look forward to being part of work that strives to be creative, collaborative, relevant and effec- tive as we work toward a viable, sustainable and prosperous Caribbean community for all. I am confident that it can be done.




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I nvesting in the Caribbean remains a compelling opportunity, building upon the mo- mentum of the previous year. The region’s appeal has only grown stronger, offering a range of enticing advantages for investors seeking both stability and growth. Here are five key reasons why investing in the Caribbean in 2023 continues to be a smart choice: 1 Expanding Renewable Energy Initiatives The Caribbean’s commitment to renewable energy continues to flourish, with even greater empha- sis in 2023. The CARICOM’s target of achieving 48 percent renewable energy penetration by 2030 remains a driving force, and individual nations have set even more ambitious goals. The region is poised to experience a substantial increase in renewable energy production, presenting investment opportunities across the entire spectrum of renewable energy projects. Collaborative public- private partnerships remain open for companies involved in various aspects of renewable energy infrastructure, manufacturing, storage, distribution, and servicing.



Unmatched Accessibility

As of 2023, the Caribbean remains incredibly accessible from major North American countries including the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This proximity serves as a significant advantage for businesses looking to expand their operations while staying close to their core facilities. With most Caribbean nations in the Eastern Standard Time zone, communication between staff and customers is seamless. The ease of travel to the region makes it an ideal destination for companies seeking strategic locations for their operational hubs.


Abundant Skilled Workforce

The Caribbean’s workforce continues to shine as a valuable asset for businesses worldwide. In 2023, the region’s educated and skilled employees remain a competitive advantage for companies seek- ing top-tier talent. The Caribbean’s workforce is not only highly educated but also motivated to contribute to their local economies. The allure of building meaningful careers close to home attracts ambitious professionals, making the Caribbean an ideal investment location for companies in need of skilled manpower.

4 Cultural Affinity and Seamless Transition

The cultural alignment between Caribbean nations and English-speaking countries such as the United States and European nations remains strong in 2023. The shared language and cultur- al similarities contribute to a smooth outsourcing experience, reducing the learning curve for companies seeking to establish their presence in the Caribbean. Travel and communication between teams are facilitated by this affinity, enabling businesses to transition seamlessly and make the most of their investments.


Continued Trade Opportunities



Historically renowned as a global trade hub, the Caribbean maintains its position as a trade-friendly region in 2023. Existing free trade agreements and policies facilitate smooth trade relationships between Caribbean nations and international markets. For instance, the Caribbean Basin Initiative continues to offer duty-free access to US markets for most goods, while the CARIFORUM/European Union Economic Partnership Agreement sustains preferential access to European markets. These trade agreements open doors for businesses to expand their reach andcapitalize on the Caribbean’s strategic location. In conclusion, the Caribbean’s investment landscape has evolved favourably into 2023. The region’s dedication to renewable energy, accessible geography, skilled workforce, cultural affinity, and trade-friendly policies collectively makes the region an even more enticing destination for investors seeking both immediate and long-term returns. As optimism continues to drive innovation and technology forward, seizing investment opportunities in the Caribbean remains a prudent choice for those looking to diversify their portfolios and capitalize on a region ripe for growth.



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provide an ideal environment for year-round crop cultivation. 1

Optimal Climate Optimal Climate: The Caribbean’s consistent sunlight and moderate temperatures

resident and tourist needs while exploring global markets. 2

Dual Demand With strong local market demand and export potential, investors can tap into both

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Abundant Land The region offers ample public and private land for agricultural endeavors, accommodating various scales of operations.


Food Security Initiatives Investors benefit from local and global programs that enhance food security, promoting sustainable practices and distribution networks.

Expertise Utilization Investors benefit from local and global programs that enhance food security, promoting sustainable practices and distribution networks.

Investing in Caribbean agriculture offers a compact package of advantages, from ideal climate conditions to market diversity, land availability, support systems, and local expertise – a formula for successful agricultural ventures.


By Tahera Paul Tahera LT. Pual hails from Grenada and is a budding Development Economist. With a master’s degree in International Trade Policy from the University of the West Indies, her fervour lies in advancing investment and development throughout the Caribbean region.



A griculture has always played a significant role in the Caribbean economy, providing food and jobs to the islands. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, countries like Haiti, Dominica, Guyana, and Grenada report that agriculture makes up between 7% and 17% of their GDP. However, the industry faces challenges like climate change, increased costs, water scarcity, and increased energy demands, which create many obstacles. These obstacles include unpredictable weather patterns, extreme weather events, environmental damage, limited available land, and growing demands for water and energy. While traditional methods have been effective in the past, a new approach is needed to ensure sustainable agriculture for future generations One solution that has yet to be fully explored in the Caribbean is Agricultural Technology (AgTech), also known as Smart Agriculture. AgTech uses innovative technology to improve efficiency, profitability, safety, and sustainability while reducing traditional farming practices’ negative environmental and social im- pacts. By combining science and technology, AgTech enables farmers to collect data, analyze efficiency, monitor growth and quality, and more, resulting in cost savings and increased yields. This technology in- cludes hardware and software, business models, cutting-edge applications, advanced tools such as ro- bots, drones, temperature and moisture sensors, and data analytics. The rapidly evolving field of AgTech has the potential to transform agriculture in the Caribbean by increasing yields, conserving resources, and ensuring food security for future generations.

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The Case for AgTech Investment in the Region

Rising Demand for Food Security

Market Growth and Potential

From 2018 to 2020, the Caribbean spent an enor- mous US$13.76 billion on imported food. This makes it clear that improving the region’s food security is crucial. To do this, it’s urgent that lo- cal food production is increased. Consumers who prioritize their health prefer food that is sustain- ably and locally sourced. One way to achieve this is through AgTech, which can boost local food production, reduce reliance on imports, and en- sure a steady food supply.

The agriculture industry is growing rapidly world- wide, with the smart agriculture market in par- ticular experiencing significant growth and po- tential. In 2022, the market was valued at USD 19.91 billion, and it is expected to reach USD 43.37 billion by 2030 due to a compound annual growth rate of 10.2%. In the Caribbean, there is a strong desire to reduce food imports, which creates a demand for AgTech solutions that align with the region’s goals. This growth in the market provides an appealing opportunity for investors who are interested in investing in a sector that connects food production and consumption.

Governments in the region support AgTech because it can reduce food imports by 25% by 2025. They are implementing policies to encourage its adoption by providing incentives, subsidies, and tax breaks to cultivate smart agriculture markets. They are also funding AgTech initiatives to encourage farmers to use technology in their practices.

The importance of such infrastructure lies in its potential to enhance efficiency, inform deci- sion-making, foster innovation and ensure sus- tainability in the agriculture sector. Access to information is likely to attract an influx of new players like Argi-engineers and entrepreneurs. Access to information is likely to attract an influx of new players like Argi-engineers and entrepre- neurs.

Diverse Investment Opportunities:

Cultivating Informed Investment and Innovation


Governments in the region support AgTech because it can reduce food imports by 25% by 2025. They are implementing policies to encourage its adoption by providing incentives, subsidies, and tax breaks to cultivate smart agriculture markets. They are also funding AgTech initiatives to encourage farmers to use technology in their practices.

A reliable data repository encompassing critical information such as soil composition, crop yields, market trends, and supply chain dynamics be- comes essential to attract AgTech investors and foster innovation. This data empowers investors with the insights needed for decision-making, balancing risk and opportunity. Moreover, a ro- bust data infrastructure addresses the scarcity of tech innovators in the region’s agriculture sec- tor by providing real-time data that informs their solutions, driving data-driven innovation.

Data Infrastructure’s Vital Role in AgTech Advancement


Data is one of the most critical aspects of Agri- culture’s evolution into the digital era. This data needs amediumwhere it can be collected, stored, and effectively analyzed to benefit farmers and other industry stakeholders. Unfortunately, the Caribbean lacks a vital data repository system to effectively manage data collection, accessibili- ty, transfer, storage, and analysis. Implementing such a system is critical so stakeholders can get actionable insights and feedback loops to en- hance their operations..

Levelling the Playing Field and Ensuring Resilience

The Caribbean’s diverse geography introduces an information asymmetry within the agriculture sector. A comprehensive data infrastructure mit- igates this imbalance by centralizing and dissem- inating crucial data, offering equitable access to information for enterprises and small-scale farmers alike. This centralized repository opti- mizes the agricultural value chain by pinpoint- ing inefficiencies and enhancing distrubution processes. Additionally, data infrastructure bolsters climate resilience, enabling farmers to adapt to changing conditions through re- al-time climate and weather data.

Enabling an Environment for Innovation

A robust data infrastructure is pivotal in transi- tioning the Caribbean’s agriculture to a digital landscape. This framework coordinates data gathering, distribution, storage, transmission, and analysis, resulting in beneficial findings and continual improvements.

The Call for Action

data ecosystem in the Caribbean necessitates regional gov- ernmental cooperation and collaboration with institutions like the Caribbean Development Bank and the Caribbean Agricul- tural Research and Development Institute. ESTABLISHING A ROBUST Governments are called upon to take the first step in assuming the role of coordinator, bringing together wis- dom and efforts among farmers, private enterprises, research hubs, and regional associations in one central location to establish this data repository system. Investments in connectivity, sensors, and data collection will facilitate seamless access to vital information. In contrast, creating policies and regulations around data ownership, privacy, and sharing is crucial to ensure transparent collaboration and data-driven decision-making. While teaching an old dog new tricks may be impossible, government commitments should extend to enhancing digital literacy, offering training sessions and collaborative projects with research institutions that sensitize and empower farmers and innovators to embrace data and technology confidently. In conclusion, a comprehensive data infrastructure is a cornerstone for the Caribbean’s agricultural sector’s dig- ital evolution. The potential of digital technologies to drive innovation and growth hinges on this infrastructure’s establishment. It’s vital to recognize that while technology is essential, it must be accompanied by a supportive ecosystem ensuring data availability, quality, accessibility, and addressing privacy and security concerns. Collaborative endeavors among governments, private sector entities, research institutions, and other stake- holders are indispensable to usher in a new era of data-driven agricultural progress in the Caribbean. By building this foundation, the region can harness digital opportunities, foster innovation, and ensure sustainable growth in its agricultural sector.



CARIBBEAN WOMEN IN TRADE: TRANSFORMING THE REGION’S AGRO-PROCESSING SECTOR By Andrea M. Ewart, Esq. Andrea M. Ewart, Esq. is a Jamaican national and US-trained customs and international trade at- torney with her own firm, DevelopTradeLaw, LLC, which works with businesses, governments, and entrepreneurs to facilitate the successful movement of goods and services across national borders. She is also the President of Caribbean Women in Trade (CWIT) which works to foster a community that supports the advancement of Caribbean women in international trade.

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Anecdotal evidence indicates that a significant percentage of Caribbean women involved in international trade are in the agro-processing sector, bringing added value and innovation to the use of local produce. Ranging from small cottage industry operations to medium-sized companies, they are introducing new fla- vours and applying improved techniques to traditional products to create new products. Frozen yams, pre- served sweet pawpaw (papaya), roasted pickled saltfish, bar-be-cue flavoured plantain chips, and bread- fruit pancake mix give you a small taste of the food products. In the health and wellness space, products such as body scrubs from coconut, lemongrass, or Blue Mountain coffee, avocado soaps, and turmeric face washes exist.

The Market Opportunities


CARICOM members also have in place trade agreements granting similar access for their goods with the 28 member countries of the Eu- ropean Union and with Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. Regionally, CARICOM members (except The Ba- hamas) have committed to the free movement of goods within a regional single market. While these markets and trade routes are less devel- oped, they present growth opportunities. In- deed, a CARICOM commitment to increase food security by significantly reducing the region’s enormous food import bill (up to 80% of foods consumed) has created an opening for food im- porters, distributors, and national governments to begin to buy more from local food manufac- turers. Many trading arrangements provide preferential access for Caribbean products to several key ex- port markets. The Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and the Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN) trade preference programs grant duty-free access to the large U.S. and Cana- dian markets, respectively. The CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) also pro- vides duty-free access for Caribbean products into the U.K. In these three markets reside large diaspora communities and the millions of tourists who return home from vacation in love with Carib- bean culture and food.

The Growth Challenges High import bills also mean that increasing the con- sumption of Caribbean food products by hotels is an- other area of opportunity. With the increased use of digital technologies, size has become less of an obstacle to exporting.Websites and e-commerce platforms allow the smallest producer to capture the attention of interested buyers outside of the domestic market. Amid the global lockdown, the companies and entrepreneurs that thrived were the ones that moved to embrace e-commerce. There is no turning back, and the advantages of making this shift are real. Without the need for brick-and-mortar stores, the barriers to entry are lower. With a website, a company becomes global. Size, however, can limit productive capacity, which im- pedes growth. A buyer’s comment on the CaribShop- per e-commerce platform underscores this reality. They had to buy less than they wanted to because the supply was limited.One of the most consistent factors hindering the growth of companies across the Carib- bean is the lack of access to capital. The region’s bank- ing system continues to fall short in recognizing cred- it-worthy business applicants. Donor programs have stepped up to provide start-up capital, particularly for women ownned businesses—however, a successful company seeking to expand operations struggles to access the needed capital.


A Role for Investors

company seeking to expand operations struggles to access the needed capital. The region’s banking system has also been missing in action in the area of merchant payment systems. Innovative entre- preneurs have developed innovative non-banking solutions but reach a limited audience. Size also negatively impacts the ability to source imported equipment, materials, and technology at cost-effective rates. The average Caribbean con- sumer has reluctantly grown accustomed to the irregularity with which a favorite product appears on the shelves as processors run out of bottles and packaging. Agro processors need expensive, high-quality equipment to produce foods ready for consumption domestically and abroad. The ab- sence of or limited ability to lease the equipment or to rent kitchen space places a heavy burden on each company to procure its own. Concerning goods, digital trade uses the Internet and mobile technology to drive the sale of prod- ucts. The increased use of e-commerce, therefore, requires access to reliable Internet. Yet, Internet penetration across the region is still relatively low – the highest being Trinidad and Tobago, with 77.3% of its population having access at the start of 2022. As the region’s entrepreneurs struggle to compete in the digital age, access to the Internet is key, as is ac- cess to the technical help needed to build attractive and well-designed platforms, as well as training and support to bridge the digital divide. Finally, unreliable regional transportation routes make intra-regional trade unnecessarily complex and expensive. While it is easier logistically to export to North America or Europe, the regional market provides a less intimidating entrée into international trade. It is encouraging that CIF 2023 has highlight- ed the need for investors to take up this challenge.

Many of the challenges explored above can be addressed by providing solutions that enhance the operating environment for the overall sector within each country. There are opportunities for the dis- cerning investor to meet the diverse logistical and supply chain needs of the agro-processors. Growing the produce that provides the key inputs for agro-processors can also be improved by in- vestments to improve the sustainability practices, post-harvest handling methods, and phytosan- itary controls used by farmers. The reality of cli- mate change has also raised the need to apply new approaches to pest and soil treatment and to introduce climate-proof irrigation and drainage infrastructure. Innovators in the region are already developing solutions that could be ripe for entry into the market with the right support. There are also opportunities to sell telecommuni- cations equipment and for firms experienced in developing IT sectors to provide the needed infra- structure to support the growth of digital trade. Again, some of this expertise already resides in the region, awaiting the right investor or partner. Caribbean agro-processors are well-placed to capture a portion of the growing market for healthy yet exotic foods and beauty and wellness products. It will take the combined contributions of foreign and local capital, technology, and know- how to make this promise a reality.




By Dario Carrington Dario Carrington, holds an MSC and PMP and is an International Trade and Social Development Practitioner



In the face of climate crises, price volatility, and growing energy insecurity, the global commu- nity has been looking for innovative solutions to reduce their carbon footprints and reliance on fossil fuels. The global renewable energy sector is valued at US$988 billion 1 , and countries con- tinue to supercharge their transition to more eco-friendly alternatives and strengthen their domestic energy security. Caribbean Islands, for instance, benefit from year-round access to natural dispositions that can be adapted and exploited to help its citizens and economy. Research has shown that the region possesses tremendous renewable energy potential and a competitive advantage in solar, wind, and geo- thermal energy 2 . The question remains: How can policymakers and private sector stakeholders collaborate to maximize its potential, increasing economic growth and development? The Caribbean holds approximately 45,000 megawatts in renewable energy potential 3 , pos- sessing the ability to develop a regional ecosys- tem that leverages over 300 days of sunshine, volcanic topography, and greater maritime borders. Caribbean government and private sector entities have appreciated the potential of sun, wind and sea beyond attracting tourist as a means of powering their future. Some Ca- ribbean islands have set up several projects that have yielded economic and energy-supplying benefits, accelerating their respective renewable energy transition. As a driving force for climate-resilient and en- ergy-independent economies, Pavana Energy is a Barbadian renewable energy developer, engineer, contractor, and operator that is pi- oneering the development of fully engineered climate-resilient clean energy projects. As a driving force for climate-resilient and en- ergy-independent economies, Pavana Energy is a Barbadian renewable energy developer, engineer, contractor, and operator that is pi- oneering the development of fully engineered climate-resilient clean energy projects. Ashford Dairy Farms (Barbados)

With the installation of four (4) 250 kilowatts wind tur- bines at the Ashford Dairy farm in St. John, Barbados, the project is the first of its kind in Barbados. Pavana Energy’s wind farm generates enough power to supply 12-1600 homes efficiently. The company, however, feeds the generated wind energy into the national power grid of the local utility under its FIT programme. The company is expanding and in the process of erect- ing three (3) additional turbines at Claybury Plantation, with several future projects in the pipeline. All Pavana’s existing and future projects will be converted to full hy- brid installations with the addition of Solar PV and Bat- tery Energy Storage Systems. This will allow for around- the-clock clean energy production, engineered in a 100% smart and climate-resilient way, truly reinforcing Barbados’ commitment to becoming 100% carbon-free and achieving long-term energy security. Despite abundant geothermal resources in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, developing clean, renewable energy resources is far from a priority for many islands. The current project in Dominica represents a thrill- ing and exciting opportunity for the government and people of Dominica. The construction of a 7-mega- watt geothermal power plant is well underway, with the drilling of one geothermal well recently completed in Q2 of 2023. With a massive $50 million (USD) invest- ment committed to the project, once completed, it will provide a clean, affordable, and reliable power source to over 23,000 homes. Dominica Geothermal Project

2023 2023


Saint Lucia Solar Farms

Under the direct control and management of the is- land’s sole electrical utility provider, LUCELEC, the proj- ect is the first utility-scale renewable energy project on the island of Saint Lucia. The $20 million project saw the installation of nearly 15,000 solar panels across the island.

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