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Agro-Tourism Policy in the Making

The maximisation of the link between tourism and agriculture is being explored through an initiative of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), where an Agro-Tourism Policy is being considered.

Spearheaded by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), stakeholders from the two sectors – Agriculture and Tourism – were part of a two day Agro-Tourism Policy Setting Workshop at the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort from September 17-18.

With the aim of linking the two sectors, ideas were solicited from participants as to the best way to capitalise on the products existing in Agriculture and Tourism and cleverly marrying the two to gain full benefits.

Being rolled out in a number of countries within the Eastern Caribbean States (ECS), IICA foresees important benefits being derived from this initiative, as explained by IICA ECS Representative, Gregg Rawlins.

“It provides a forum for you stakeholders to identify the most critical policy gaps that need to be filled to create an environment conducive to strengthen linkages between the agricultural and tourism sectors in Grenada. I should emphasise that the strengthening of the agro-tourism linkages will however, require significant changes. You need to adopt new approaches, it will not happen automatically. You need to adopt appropriate technologies and sound agri-business management strategies that stimulate increases in productivity, production and competiveness to ensure a consistent and reliable supply of competitively priced, primary and value added products and services to the sector. You need to be able to adhere to stringent food safety, quality, labour and environmental standards,” Rawlins stated.

OECS Representative at the workshop, George Alcee, said that this initiative is well in keeping with the OECS vision of a better quality of life for the region.

“Taking advantage of the opportunity of the tourism market by creating and positioning marketable products and service offering is one example of advancing this vision. With the rising demand from the tourism sector for locally produced foods and the visitor desire to consume foods from the destination visited and the willingness to proactively select and pay a premium price for such an experience, it is necessary to build critical skills and to put the required processes in place,” Alcee remarked.

Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen, explained that the marrying of the two sectors (tourism and agriculture) will not only provide benefits for farmers and fisher folks but will also be beneficial for the development of the tourism product.

“It brings to light an aspect of community tourism, farm based tourism, culinary tourism, agro- heritage tourism, agro-eco-tourism and agro trade. Therefore, it is important for the Ministry of Tourism, as we make a consorted effort to assist in enhancing livelihoods; a major aspect of our community based tourism development programme for the coming years,” the Minister said.

Minister for Agriculture and Lands, Yolande Bain-Horsford, commended CTA’s vision for the two sectors, as the synergies between the two will be fully optimised.

“The diametrical strong linkage between the agriculture and tourism sectors is well established. The continuous demand for the tourism sectors for meals and beverages, accommodation and cultural experiences are services which can, in part, be provided by local farmers. It is important to note that food represents roughly 30 percent of the total tourist expenditure, which implies that there is vast potential for local producers. I am confident that our producers of food, has the capacity to supply on a consistent manner a major part of the culinary needs to the tourism sector,” Minister Bain-Horsford stated.

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