A delegation of agriculture experts from the OECS, visited Morocco on a technical operation mission, meant to strengthen capacities in a number of critical areas.
Representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines had the opportunity to exchange ideas with Moroccan agriculture officers and scientists. Topping the agenda, were issues surrounding agronomy, soil fertility mapping, diagnostic laboratory testing, irrigation, and export market development.
While in Morocco, members of the delegation visited several fruit and vegetable production sites, processing facilities, and laboratories, in addition to participating in classroom-style sessions, led by experts from the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture.
Noting the importance of up-to-date soil fertility data which could help maximise crop yield, the OECS also launched the Moroccan-Caribbean Soil Fertility Mapping Project, which it deems critical to the regional agriculture sector.
Ambassador-Designate to the Kingdom of Morocco, His Excellency Mr. Ian M. Queeley, was among those who attended a ceremony held in commemoration of the successful completion of this exchange project. He encouraged participants to share all they learned, with colleagues and farmers upon their return home.
“Additionally, you should aim to use agriculture as a vehicle for development and strive to increase its contribution to the GDP of your respective countries by developing niche markets, being more collaborative and cohesive in your approaches, and taking food safety and quality more seriously. This can only be achieved if you develop the necessary protocols and policy frameworks”, he said.
The Kingdom of Morocco, through the Agence Marocaine De Coopération Internationale (AMCI) with the assistance of the OECS, will host several more technical missions both in Morocco and in the individual Member States of the OECS.
Other ongoing areas of cooperation between Eastern Caribbean islands and Morocco include academic scholarship programmes, soil fertility mapping projects, ocean resource management projects, and various cross-industry technical missions.