CARICOM Heads of Government approved the establishment of the CARICOM Private Sector Organisation (CPSO) at its 40th Regular Meeting of the Conference in July 2019, as commitment to private sector participation. The CPSO was officially conferred the status of an Associate Institution of CARICOM on 29th October 2020, at the 41st Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community. CPSO is to act as the “Apex” Institution for the Private Sector in CARICOM.
Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, Lead Head with responsibility for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy CSME), issued an urgent call for the Region to reduce the extra-regional food import bill by 25% before 2025. The “Twenty-five by 2025 Initiative” aimed at reducing extra-regional agri-food imports by 25% by 2025, is the CPSO’s response to the mandate given by Prime Minister Mottley.
The CPSO prepared a comprehensive submission for consideration by the Heads of Government at the 31 Intersessional in February 2020, focused on seven priority investment business cases: Poultry Meat and Hatching Eggs, Animal Feed, Meat Products, Vegetables, Cassava, and Coconut products, as well as an eighth area of work in progress which focuses on Leveraging Regional Distribution Networks to develop accessible markets for products from Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The CPSO will prepare investment business cases to capitalise on CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) agri-food opportunities, consistent with the objective of reducing CARICOM’s food import bill, enhancing food and nutrition security, strengthening the Region’s agriculture resilience, and identifying opportunities for extra-regional exports.
These priorities target the displacement of US$418.8 million worth of extra-regional agri-food imports (based on 2018 trade data). At present less than 1 percent of CSME trade occurs in most of the identified opportunities.
|Size of Investment Opportunity||CARICOM Market Value based on Imports (2016-2018)||Percentage Traded|
|1. Poultry Meat||US $121 million||<1%|
|2. Hatching Eggs||US $54 million||<5%|
|3. Corn & Rice (Feed Production)||US $93.8 million||<1%|
|4. Meat (Beef, Pork, Mutton)||US $30 million||<1%|
|5. Niche Vegetables||US $50 million||<1%|
|6. Cassava||US $30 million||Hardly traded|
|7. Coconut Products (Coconut value chain)||US $40 million||Export potential|
|TOTAL||US $418.8 million|
Investments in the opportunities proposed (subject to their feasibility) will also allow the private sector to undertake investment in infrastructure, technology and innovation thereby enhancing agri-food output and employment in the CSME. The Investment Business Cases will also be developed utilizing the constructs of ‘regional agricultural corridors’ and ‘value chains’.
The 25 by 2025 Initiative offers the greatest opportunity for the CARICOM Private Sector to truly realize the benefits of developing these opportunities within the Single Market and Economy.
It is recognized, that in the past, even where opportunities were identified, a number of impediments precluded their development. The CPSO’s construct, wherein policy dialogue will be held directly with CARICOM Heads, and the CPSO representation in the Councils of the Community, such as the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), offers a new and unique opportunity for the Private Sector to speak directly to the Decision makers at the regional level.
The 25% by 2025 Initiative therefore has a special place reserved for to producers in CARICOM Member States.