Roseau, 22 March 2018 (IICA). The Delegation of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in Dominica engaged in rich dialogue with about 45 public and private stakeholders to gather their feedback and advice on country needs, and, in turn, support the preparation of the Institute's 2018- 2022 Medium-term Plan.

This consultation process included meetings with local government agencies, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, agribusiness chambers, agricultural advisors, producers' groups and organizations, and authorities of the Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute (CARDI) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

The purpose of this consultation process was to foster collaboration and participation in the creation of a document that presents a renewed vision for agriculture and a new way of managing technical cooperation. Within this framework, participants discussed the Caribbean differentiated strategy and proposed a differentiated strategy for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Meeting participants also identified the main topics on which IICA's work should focus, highlighting agricultural health and food safety; climate change mitigation and resilience in agriculture; food and nutritional security; rural livelihoods; technological innovation and adaptation; strengthening of market linkages; as well as agribusiness development through improved value chains and greater integration within the OECS.

A common view expressed was that IICA was best positioned to serve as a hemispheric institute that transfers best practices, creates networks and mobilizes resources.

The participants recommended that the Institute adopt a modality that ensures that its technical actions are externalized by the industry. The need for improving the communication and visibility of the Institute's actions within the region was also emphasized.

The Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero, stated that the participants' recommendations would be crucial in the development of a road map aimed at meeting country needs.

"When we understand the way our countries think and what their priorities are, we are able to efficiently target and distribute our resources, while working together to address national demands. This process guarantees IICA's institutional strengthening moving forward," he stated.

On the other hand, Diego Montenegro, Director of Management and Regional Integration of IICA, stated that the participatory preparation of the new MTP began with an internal consultation process involving Institute personnel. The second phase consists of a broad consultation process with counterparts that work with IICA's Delegations.

"In addition to the consultation processes currently underway in each of the Member States, we have identified the Delegations that work closely with the regional integration mechanisms, and have requested their input in order to develop the MTP's regional scope," he stated.

This consultation process will be replicated in all other IICA Member States, to ensure that each country's vision is taken into account in the preparation of national and regional plans. The results of the consultation process in Dominica were presented to and validated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.