(World Bank, 2020)
Millions Are Being Invested in the Caribbean’s Agribusiness Sector
5 Jul 2022
The Caribbean is making concerted efforts to increase local agricultural production and reduce the dependency on imported products. This creates significant opportunities for investment in agribusiness and the AgTech industry and investors from throughout the world are noticing.
In the Caribbean, 26 agribusiness projects with an FDI volume of $919.1 million were implemented between 2003 and 2020 (fDi Markets). The Caribbean is a $369 billion market with 30 million local consumers and 30 million affluent visitors to the region each year - a number that is growing annually as the tourism industry expands. The combination of local consumers and tourist demand makes the Caribbean’s agribusiness sector highly attractive, as does the region’s unique growing climate. In addition to growing food for local consumption, investors are seeing profits from growing high-value crops like mushrooms for export.
An Agri-Investment Forum and Expo was held in Guyana in May of 2022 to highlight these opportunities, and to encourage the move towards more agricultural independence. The “Agri-Investment Forum and Expo: Investing in Vision 25 by 2025”, was organized by the Government of Guyana and the CARICOM Secretariat. During the forum, stakeholders agreed to allocate efforts towards addressing food insecurity, improving regional transportation (something the Caribbean Development Bank has pledged support for), removing any trade barriers, and supporting agricultural projects led by women and youth. Investors can play a key role in helping the Caribbean to transition from importing much of their food products to producing and manufacturing them at home.
Curacao Is One of the Caribbean Islands Moving Towards Sustainable, Locally-Grown Food
In 2017, Curacao's government approved a policy memorandum that promotes sustainable agricultural development and includes replacing 5% of imported foods with locally grown food each year, for five years. To support the increase in locally-grown food products, the Institute of Professional Excellence and the University of the West Indies has offered the farming training program to local farmers and entrepreneurs with a focus on hydroponic and syntropic farming processes. Since 2016, over 100 farmers have been trained, resulting in successful projects throughout the island, several of which are looking for investors. They include a vertical hydroponic farm growing cold-weather crops, a solar-powered production facility, and expanded farming.
The World Bank & Investors Are Supporting Growth in the Caribbean’s Agricultural Industry
In March, the World Bank approved $25 million in financing for the Belize Climate Resilient and Sustainable Agriculture Project to increase food production capacity and to implement technologies that will support climate resiliency. Over 7,000 farmers in Belize will now have access to technical information to improve yields and assist with planning. In addition, 3,700 small farmers will receive grant funding. Lilia Buruniuc, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, said, “Both the World Bank and Belize know the sector can be an engine of growth to support the well-being of families and communities and improve the economic prospects of the country.”
Likewise, the IADB has invested in projects in countries like Suriname, providing millions in grant funding for sustainable agriculture development. In Belize alone, they are investing $15 million in the agriculture sector in 2022.
Ag-Tech Webinars & Resources
Compete Caribbean hosted an Agri-Tech Challenge, awarding up to $120,000 in customized technical assistance to award recipients. As part of their challenge, they hosted webinars and presented on various ag-tech investment opportunities. These webinars provide further insights into the agribusiness sector in the Caribbean, and the role technology plays in its growth.
The Inter-American Development Bank has also produced a useful resource, the AgTech Innovation Map in Latin America and the Caribbean.
CAIPA hosted an AgTech Summit in 2021. A recording of our summit can be found here. During the presentations you will hear information on investment opportunities and how to best leverage your investment in the Caribbean.
For further assistance or information, contact us.