We strives to remove our farmer’s organisations dependency on donor agencies and government. Farmers bring to the table, lands and skills and it is important that we invest what the farmers bring to ensure sustainable wealth for them, we must ensure that farmers organisation have a bigger share of the value chain by ensuring that we have a more direct line to the final market, improvement in grades, standards and packaging which should be strengthened at the village like what we are doing. A good example of this is what we have done with the dasheen/Taro program, when we first went into the production and marketing of Dasheen the price was just about break-even cost of production, we eliminated all the unnecessary middle persons and straightened the line to the market, we were able to target the price at over 100% to farmers and decreasing the price to the final buyer in the market. With that level of efficiency, farmers were able to maintain a profitable, sustainable crop. Dasheen/Taro is now a major export crop for many small farmers /small farm families. We were able to achieve this because we took control of the marketing and we ensured that the farmers were trained to grade, pack and sort the produce taking ownership and leadership in the process. that we were able to maintain this reasonable level of consistency in price.
Too many of our FARMER LEADERS HAVE become travelling development tourist with little focus on the core of farmers activities, production and marketing. It is important THAT OUR SMALL FARMERS LEADERS focus on ensuring that PRODUCTION AND MARKETING programs are profitable and sustainable. This is a key ECTAD CARIBBEAN FOCUS and we urge our partners to give this due attention as a way to reduce the aid begging.
While we are interested in the broad aspect of development and the policies which are very important to us. These policies can only be strengthened by having strong small farmers/small farm families clusters and organisations in sustained profitable farming. These practical realities on the ground then give us something to offer for the policies that relate to reality. We work to strengthen and build the local capacity of management and leadership at our village level to keep wealth and resources at that level and in 2019 we endeavor to strengthen this.