The Caribbean experience in protecting agricultural and agrifood products

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Presentation hold by John Malcolm Spence, Senior Coordinator, Intellectual Property Issues, CARICOM Secretariat, at the Brussels Briefing ‘Geography of food: reconnecting with origin in the food system’, organized by CTA on 15th May 2013.
More on: http://brusselsbriefings.net/

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The Caribbean experience in protecting agricultural and agrifood products

  1. 1. Brussels Briefing n. 31Geography of food: reconnecting with origin in the food system15th May 2013http://brusselsbriefings.netThe Caribbean experience in protecting agriculturalagrifood productsJohn Malcom Spence, CARICOM Secretariat
  2. 2. The Caribbean experience inprotecting specialtyagricultural products“The challenges of being very small”Malcolm SpenceBrussels, May2013
  3. 3. The Caribbean experience in protectingspecialty agricultural productsOverview• The Caribbean – small, vulnerable, diverse• Some Caribbean specialty products• Small production volumes, limited marketpower• The location link and its value• The IP framework and strategies• The Way Forward
  4. 4. What do we mean by “the Caribbean”?Source: caribbean-on-line.com
  5. 5. Defining the Caribbean• The 16 CARIFORUM States– Antigua and Barbuda, theBahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, DominicanRepublic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St.Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and theGrenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago
  6. 6. Size, vulnerability and diversity of theCaribbean• Small States scattered over a large area• Small populations; small internal markets; andsmall economies• High levels of government and public debt• Narrow production base and narrow range ofexports• Hurricane belt and earthquake zone• Climate change and sea level rise• Cross-roads for people, cultures and culturalexpression
  7. 7. Some well-known Caribbean specialtyagricultural products• Cane sugars, rums and molasses– Barbados sugar (Muscovado) and rum– Demerara sugar and molasses– Dominican Macoucherie rum• Bananas– Banano Dominicano, Gros Michel bananas• Cocoa and cocoa products– Trinitario beans, Cocoa Ramones, Grenadachocolate
  8. 8. Some well-known Caribbean specialtyagricultural products• Coffees– Café Valdesia, Café Barahona• Peppers and condiments– Scotch Bonnet, Scorpion, Jerk seasoning• Tobacco and cigars– Habanos, Cigarro Dominicano• Cotton– Sea Island Cotton
  9. 9. Some well-known Caribbean specialtyagricultural products• Oils and spices– Nutmeg, mace, Bahamas Cascarilla Bark, GrenadaNutmeg Oil, Dominican Bay Oil• Fine Starches– St. Vincent Arrowroot Starch• Decorative and Craft products– Belizean Xate leaves, Dominican Kalinagohandicraft, Guyanese Tibisiri straw products,
  10. 10. Some well-known Caribbean specialtyagricultural productsIn spite of such a diversity of specialtyproducts, few contribute significantly toCaribbean competitiveness and economicgrowthWhat are the challenges highlighted by ourlimited experience?
  11. 11. The Caribbean experience in protectingspecialty agricultural productsVolumes and markets• Most Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee supplied toJapan• Most Sea Island Cotton supplied to Italy• Demerara sugar supplied to several markets• Cuban and Dominican high-end cigars supplied todiverse markets• Trinitario cocoa beans supplied to globalcommodity market
  12. 12. The Caribbean experience in protectingspecialty agricultural productsThe luxury goods market• The effect of global recession– Falling prices as consumers switch down (orswitch to fast fashion)– Small, marginal producers cease production– Increase in pest and diseases harboured inabandoned areas.– Increasing production input costs (fertilizers, pestcontrol methods)
  13. 13. The Caribbean experience in protectingspecialty agricultural productsProducer organisations• Strong organisation and Government support –All Jamaica Coffee Growers and the CoffeeIndustry Board; West Indies Rum and SpiritsProducers Association; Guyana Sugar Company;Cuban growers• Weak organisation with some Government (orinter-governmental) support – West Indies SeaIsland Cotton Association
  14. 14. The Caribbean experience in protectingspecialty agricultural productsUnderstanding the location link• Abandoning the comfort of the industrialrevolution mindset• Seeing through the eyes of global consumers• Appreciating our cultural and agriculturalknowledge and environment• Recombining science and the arts to definethe terroir
  15. 15. The Caribbean experience in protectingspecialty agricultural productsForecasting value differential• Defining value chains• Finding the contribution of location in thevalue chain• Understanding strategies for ‘value capture’ tomove value along the chain back to producers• Valuing the spill-over effects
  16. 16. The Caribbean experience in protectingspecialty agricultural productsThe IP Framework and Strategies• Inertia of the commercial legislative andregulatory change process• Over-reliance on Government action by theprivate sector• Limited understanding of the use of IP ascomponent of competitive strategy
  17. 17. The Caribbean experience in protectingspecialty agricultural productsThe Way Forward1. Refine procedures for valuing specialtyproducts2. Strengthen producer organisations andproduct definitions with location links3. Develop marketing and distributionstrategies4. Develop defensive strategies using IP system
  18. 18. Source: www.cafemarkcumberland.com
  19. 19. Source: http://www.meredithtours.com/burnettours/images/blue_mountains.jpg
  20. 20. Source: www.countrytraders.com
  21. 21. Source: www.ineedcoffee.com
  22. 22. The Caribbean experience in protectingspecialty agricultural productsThank youfor your attentionmalcolm.spence@crnm.org

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