For the small island nations of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), a more dynamic, diversified, and entrepreneurial agriculture sector, in which farmers and agro-processors benefit from stronger ties to the tourism industry and wider markets for their products, could be a strong driver of sustainable development.  
 
This new study, partially funded by the CIIP, identifies opportunities to reinforce linkages between domestic agricultural supply chains and the tourism sector and describes interventions with the greatest potential to strengthen those linkages. Based on detailed field interviews with a selected sample of “game changers” in the private sector and building on previous research, the study focuses on three essential areas for building stronger linkages, including marketing arrangements, the role of young farmer-entrepreneurs, and the agro-processing industry.
 
 
The Report's Main Findings:
  1. Across OECS countries, demand for food is expanding in volume and variety, and tourism is an important driver of this growth. 
  2. For hotels, especially the large ones, the main barrier to purchasing greater quantities of local produce and other fresh food is the limited ability of local farmers to deliver hotels’ required quantities and quality of produce in a timely, consistent, and competitive manner. 
  3. Poor market information and a rudimentary market structure for fresh produce result in suboptimal market performance.
  4. Food losses are high, mainly because most farmers often produce the same products at the same time, and lack adequate storage facilities.  
  5. While several agro-processing initiatives exist, the industry is underdeveloped. 
     

The report offers a number of detailed recommendations on how to fix the existing challenges. While the OECS is composed of nine member countries, this study focuses on the following six: Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

January, 2016