PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Trinidad and Tobago is one step closer to developing an industry rooted in the link between agriculture and tourism. That was one of the major highlights of the final workshop that ended on Tuesday, March 17, the joint initiative of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
The workshop was convened under the OAS-funded project “Strengthening of the Tourism Sector through Development of Linkages with the Agricultural Sector in the Caribbean”.
The three-year project was implemented by IICA in seven countries of the region—Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. The overall objective of the project was to “promote increased linkages between tourism and agriculture that will create economic opportunities, build resilience in rural communities and enhance the sustainable development of both the tourism and agriculture industries.”
More than 40 persons from private and public entities involved or interested in agro-tourism ventures in Trinidad and Tobago attended the workshop. Presentations addressed some of the project outcomes that were considered successful, such as the “farm-to-table” initiatives, focusing on inter-relationships between producers and hotels and the exercise of engaging a rural community in agro-tourism.
Workshop participants emerged with agreement to convene a Task Force made up of private sector and community practitioners, to drive the process forward and provide the necessary interface with the public sector and support institutions. It is envisaged that this will lead to the establishment of an eventual agro-tourism industry association that would be self-financing. The inclusion of agro-tourism in the ‘Transformation Plan of the Agriculture Sector’ of the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources was also noted during the workshop, with the Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry, Patrick Cambridge, stating that his Ministry embraced the concepts of agro-tourism and agri-entertainment. He also pledged support in these areas.
IICA, through its Representative in Trinidad and Tobago, Gregg C.E. Rawlins, will coordinate the initial meetings of the Task Force and will continue to strengthen its contributions through the agro-tourism programme of the IICA Office in Trinidad and Tobago, backed by the specialized agro-tourism unit in the IICA Office in Barbados.
Dr. Riyad Insanally, OAS Representative in Trinidad and Tobago, expressed his Organization’s satisfaction with the work done under the project and welcomed the opportunity for stakeholders to develop ideas on the way forward. He stated: “These have been hugely useful contributions to the development of agro-tourism in Trinidad and Tobago, the potential of which is yet to be fully realised.”