January 19, 2022

OECS Fisheries industry to benefit from Value Chain Studies

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By Lench FevrierTechnical Specialist, Agriculture, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 — The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission through the ACP TradeComII programme has contracted A-Z Information Jamaica Limited to develop three (3) commodity value chain studies as a basis for identifying potential for economic growth and development. The commodities being studied and evaluated are roots and tubers, cocoa and fish.

Value chain studies are analytical tools that are of significant importance to the agricultural sector. They are conducted to understand trends and identify opportunities that enable producers to gain enhanced value of their products. This includes identifying improvements in areas such as product design, production, marketing, distribution, and support services. The studies explore local, regional and global markets. 

Over the years, the performance of the OECS’ agriculture and fisheries sectors have been subpar. Food imports far outstrip the export of agricultural commodities. The sectors have continually experienced flat growth. To improve the livelihood of our farming communities, it is essential to address the problems within the sectors. The region is now in dire need of insight that can marshal its agriculture entrepreneurs to tap into global value chains.

The value chain studies are being carried out on specific fish species in the Member States. The studies explore key characteristics of the OECS fisheries sector such as: 

  • Number and types of businesses making up the fisheries sector 
  • Post-harvest handling/processing practices
  • Volumes and value of local fish 
  • Different fish products making it to market 
  • Market supply and demand, including seasonality 
  • The marketing channels that exist 
  • Market channels through which the fish product flows
  • Opportunities and barriers to:
    • accessing external markets 
    • adding value locally

The output of this project will serve as evidence for the development of fit-for-purpose interventions towards the strengthening of the key players and processes along the value chain as well as market access. It will form the basis for the development of appropriate regional and national support mechanisms (policies, investment proposals, programmes, etc.) to assist agro-based Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)in the region to expand the reach of their fish products.

Senior Technical Specialist for Agriculture at the OECS Commission, Mr. Lench Fevrier is pleased with the progress of this initiative and is excited about the impact. He noted, 

“We expect that the knowledge gained from the value chain analysis will reveal key opportunities to improve the capacity of our fisheries industry to generate more value from our fish products. This study will propel the growth of our fisheries industry exponentially”

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