OECS Fisheries Industry to Benefit from Value Chain Studies

OECS Media Release
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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