by Jean-Baptiste CALO

The Intra ACP (Africa-Caribbean-Pacific) program under the European Union funded Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA) under the APC Group has made it possible for a delegation of 6 experts in Agritourism from the Caribbean region to come and participate at the 1st Pacific Community Agritourism Week that was held from June 29th to July 4th 2015 at Sofitel, Denarau Island in Nadi Fiji.

The regional event was funded by the Technical Centre for Agriculture & Rural Development (CTA) funded by the European Union under the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Group (ACP). The theme of the event was “Linking Agriculture to Tourism”.

 Exclusive Interview with Ena C. Harvey, IICA (Inter American Institute  for Cooperation on Agriculture)  agritourism expert and Representative, Barbados & Management Co-ordinator, Caribbean region at the end of the event.

Question 1: Mrs Ena C. Harvey, CTA under its Intra-ACP program has made it possible for a delegation of experts from the Caribbean (you’re one of them) to come and participate in the 1st Pacific Community. The Caribbean region has a lot of experience in terms of tourism development and also linking agriculture to the tourism sector. What can you say about this week’s interaction between the two regions?

“As island states, we have so many similarities, so much in common; both the challenges, the lessons learned, our stories, our history, our best practices and our vulnerabilities. And this week has been a wonderful sharing of information, sharing of experiences between the Caribbean and the Pacific. In the Caribbean, we’ve been involved in tourism for many, many years. And we’ve done some good and some, not so good things; but we have a very good track record now in linking agriculture with tourism. From two points of view:

From trade, our fresh produce and processed foods, and agricultural products into hotels and with food service and so on, and also developing rural tourism sight seeing attractions.

What are the lessons you learned from the Pacific region?

“From the Pacific we learned that there is so much that has been done in organic production and organic certification. it is amazing that you have in Samoa alone, 600 small organic certified producers. That’s an achievement.

And there are such signature products to develop, and the cuisine. And we want to share with the Pacific what we have done with Caribbean cuisine and getting it into our restaurants. And also the lessons that you’re learning with validating your patrimony and validating your culture through your food”.

What are the positive outcomes for the two regions that you draw from this 1st Pacific Community Agritourism Week?

“For us, this week has been a week of learning, of sharing and of strategy. Because we are not going to consider ourselves as small islands, but we will smart islands developing states. And we’re going to focus on developing that linkage between agriculture and tourism, focussing on food security, food and nutrition security, focussing on battling the tsunami of chronicle of non communicable diseases that both of our regions are suffering from. We’re focussing on women and youth. And through the funded Intra-ACP program in both of our regions, we’re going to develop these synergies. We’re going to learn the lessons and we are going to make our regions very strong”. 

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