In May 2016, the European Commission (EC) and COLEACP signed a five-year grant contract for the new programme “Fit for Market (FFM) – Strengthening competitiveness and sustainability of the ACP horticultural sector”. The total budget of FFM is 25 million euros of which 20 million Euros are financed from the European Development Fund and 5 million Euros from the PRCC of AFD. The specific objective of “Fit for Market” (FFM) is to enable smallholders, farmer groups and organisations, and MSMEs to access international and domestic horticultural markets by complying with sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues and market requirements, in a sustainable framework. This new program will enable COLEACP to continue supporting the horticultural sector in the continuity of the previous PIP and EDES programmes.
Previous COLEACP activities in partner countries such as Suriname collaborated with The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI), an Agency of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which supported 18 agri-food companies in Suriname to gain a foothold in the EU market, and provided support to business support organisations in improving their capacities to act as matchmakers between suppliers and buyers. The Association of Exporters of Agricultural Products Suriname, in Dutch: Vereniging van Exporters van Agrarische Producten Suriname (VEAPS), is a professional association that provides training and information to its members with regard to markets and trends and technical assistance in relation to crop management to its members which are farmers and exporters based in Suriname.
COLEACP partnership with the Embassy of the Eastern Caribbean States in Brussels In December 2014 a MoA was signed between COLEACP and the Embassy of the Eastern Caribbean States in Brussels.
The objective of this MoA is to link small farmers on the Islands with the yachting sector. .
In June 2018 a meeting took place in Brussels with Jethro Greene, the Chief Coordinator from ECTAD CARIBBEAN which is a non-profit, voluntary, non-governmental small farmers’ base rural development organisation launched and operating in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since 1995.
Under the Fit For Market programme 6 requests have already been received for Suriname (2 companies, 2 service providers and 2 professional organisations), 1 from Barbados and 1 from St Vincent and the Grenadines (from ECTAD).
The visit by COLEACP officers Yessie Meyer Regional Coordinator along with Yentyl Willams youth consultant launched the Fit for Market program in the countries visited, analyzed the requests for support received so far, engage with complementary programmes and projects working with the horticultural industry in order to increase impact and avoid duplication and met with broad category of potential beneficiaries. Partners in Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname received and met with Coleacp representatives and participated in fruitful discussions and action plan to benefit the fresh produce production and marketing sector.
ECTAD CARIBBEAN is working with COLEACP on national and regional action plans for an implementation this year.