In May 2016, the European Commission (EC) and COLEACP signed a five–year grant contract for the new programme “Fit for Market – 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 Caribbean horticultural sector in continuity of the previous PIP and EDES programmes which closed in 2016.
In 2018, CAFAN was dissolved and the focus shifted to the strengthening of the original parent organisation ECTAD CARIBBEAN. The main focus of ECTAD is sustained profitable production and markets for small farmers/small farm families. ECTAD CARIBBEAN continues to coordinate work with the regional stakeholders as was done under CAFAN in the past.
In June 2018 a meeting took place in Brussels with the Chief Coordinator from ECTAD CARIBBEAN– The Eastern Caribbean Trading Agriculture and Development Organisation- 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).
It is important to visit these structures’ premises, both production sites and pack house and individually meet with the managers of those structures to:
• Better identify the concrete issues they may encounter regarding the regulatory and commercial compliance of fruit and vegetable products and/or the provision of services to their clients/members;
• Determine their specific needs and expectations regarding COLEACP;
• Present the type of support COLEACP and the Fit for Market program can provide to their structure.