COLEACP APPROACH

10 INTERVENTION PRINCIPLES

Local appropriation

No substitution of local stakeholders

Investment in local expertise and human resources

Pooling of problems and solutions / Economies of scale

Demand-driven intervention / Cost sharing

Participatory approach

South-South cooperation

Export as factor of modernization

Structured relationship between local value chain operators

Cross-cutting focus on youth and gender

A SUSTAINABILITY APPROACH BASED ON 3 PILLARS: CHARTER, TRAINING AND SELF-ASSESSMENT

This provides a simple framework for continuous improvement, focusing on the business case so that adopting good practice not only facilitates market access, but genuinely helps suppliers run more efficient, profitable and resilient businesses. It consists of three central elements:

COLEACP APPROACH IN THE CARIBBEAN

COLEACP IN THE CARIBBEAN REGION

Since March 2020, and following the evolution of the Covid-19 situation, COLEACP has adapted its modus operandi and taken a series of measures to continue working while integrating domestic and international guidelines related to the evolution of the pandemic. The safety of human resources, including partners’ staff, service providers, and members, is COLEACP’s priority.

Adjustments have therefore been implemented regarding field activities to comply with the precautionary measures related to COVID-19.

This does not have a direct impact on the main focus areas of the strategy for the region, but justifies an adaptation of the technical support, an increased use of remote communication and meeting tools, and as much as possible, an accelerated digitisation of advisory and training activities.

COLEACP’s mission in Caribbean countries

COLEACP’s strategy for the Caribbean is based on the current situation of the horticultural sector in the Caribbean Region, the feedback from missions carried out in 2018 and 2019, past activities of COLEACP in the Region, the requests for support received so far, and the exchanges held with beneficiaries, partners and other stakeholders and the MoUs signed. The strategy has several objectives:

  • support companies and organised farmers selling on local, regional and international markets to help them comply with market requirements, such as food safety compliance.
  • support companies, and organised farmers, including processing entities , to increase their performance in a sustainable way and become more competitive amongst others through business management related trainings and coaching , and reviews and advice on their management practices.
  • advise the competent authorities on how to implement a national food safety system and how to comply with EU sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements, with a focus on the new EU plant health regulation.

The agricultural sector , including the fruits and vegetable sector, has been identified having growth potential, whether on local, regional or international markets.

COLEACP ACTIVITIES IN CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES

COLEACP activities to strengthen the skills of horticultural stakeholders in the Caribbean include:

  • professionalization of stakeholders who want to be involved in international and/or high end formal markets : capacity building on the requirements for high-end markets, on food safety management, on Good Agricultural Practices and on sustainable production.
  • facilitate inclusive value chains: strengthening links between operators, supporting companies to implement outgrower schemes, including basic business skills (such as financial planning and cashflow management)
  • sustainable agriculture: promoting sustainable agricultural practices, with a focus on crop protection and integrated pest management as well as water and soil management
  • support to professional organizations: developing and strengthening their services to members
  • national SPS issues: support for Competent Authorities and for the private sector in response to phytosanitary crises, compliance with new EU regulations, et.

Depending on the target groups, the following topics are covered:

  • food safety and SPS requirements (regulations and private standards)
  • pest and disease management in line with EU requirements and the new EU regulation on plant health (focus on capsicum and mango)
  • sustainable agriculture, with a focus on organic agriculture
  • risk analysis and internal auditing
  • management practices, with a focus on processing structures
  • market requirements at national, regional and international levels
  • Business planning and modelling
  • COVID-19 response, resilience and compliance

Recent activities in the Caribbean (for more info on Dominican Republic and Suriname kindly visit the specific sections for these countries)

COLEACP supports the Caribbean countries that export fruit and vegetables to the European Union to comply with EU requirements, particularly Suriname and the Dominican Republic.

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COLEACP IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Since March 2020, with the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, COLEACP has adapted to continue working while integrating domestic and international guidelines. The safety of people, including partners, service providers, and members, is COLEACP’s priority.

Our field activities have been adjusted to comply with the precautionary measures related to Covid-19.
While this does not have a direct impact on the main focus areas of the strategy in the Dominican Republic, it does involve adaptations to technical support, the increased use of remote communication and meeting tools, and as far as possible the accelerated digitalisation of advisory and training activities.

In the recent years, Dominican Republic is facing a high number of interceptions due to the presence of quarantine pests such as Fruit flies and Thrips palmi in consignments and they are considered as high risk by the EU phytosanitary. The country is also facing more and more RASFF notifications for MRL exceedances.

Following the entry into force of the new EU Plant Health Regulation in December 2019, Dominican Republic must comply with these new requirements and both public and private sectors need to take the necessary steps to ensure consignment conformity.

Support strategy

Due to the potential strong impact of the new EU Plant Health Regulation on Dominican Republic exports to the EU, it is essential to focus our intervention to support Dominican Republic public and private sectors to take the necessary steps to ensure consignment conformity. Mango, Capsicum, Momordica and Citrus are the most impacted commodities due to the Commission Implementing Directive in application as from 1 September 2019. This will likely require investment in additional human resources, infrastructure, and capacity building.

Since January 2021, COLEACP counts with the support of a National Relay – Miss Karina De Pool. The national relay will contribute to the follow-up and implementation of COLEACP activities in the country.

The services provided by the national relay will mainly contribute to facilitate relations with the various stakeholders in both public and private sectors, particularly at decision-making level.

Following the election in 2020 and the changes of government, new contact must be established within the Ministry of agriculture, to work on an action plan for the country to improve market access by complying with EU phytosanitary requirements. The 4 main components of this action plan are (1) governance of the phytosanitary inspection and certification system; (2) operational activities; (3) capacity management and (4) communication.

The COLEACP will go on highlighting changes that have implications for fresh produce exports to the EU, identifying areas where public and private sector stakeholders need to take actions. The COLEACP promotes and facilitates discussion between the public and private sector to prevent any break in trade. Emphasis is placed on capacity building and communication. Various collective trainings and/or Webinars will take place in the near future. Topics covered will be focusing on: commercial negotiations, export of processed fruits, market access, organic production, environmental management, SPS management, inspections, HACCP, …

Partnerships in Dominican Republic:

Various partnerships have started in the country to have a better presence in the Dominican Republic. (1) La JAD “Junta Agroempresarial Dominicana” collaborates with COLEACP in the implementation of technical assistance activities for the fruit and vegetable sector. (2) As part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s loan application to the BID/IAD Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, COLEACP wishes to strengthen exchanges to better support the country in managing its SPS management system. (3) Knowing a new US program similar to our FFM SPS program with International Executive Service Corps (IESC) will start in 2021, it is important to work on a partnership to increase our impact and avoid duplication.

COLEACP IN SURINAME

Suriname COLEACP support strategy

Suriname exports a range of vegetables to the EU, mainly to the Netherlands where a large Surinamese diaspora community exists. Some of the vegetables exported are egg pants, sopropo (Momordica charantia, bitter gourd) , Pepper and yardlong beans. Most of this export is done by air freight.

Export volumes to the EU reach approximately 60 tons per week, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, this figure dropped back to 15 tons per week.

The production of these vegetables is done by small and medium farmers who supply small and medium sized exporting companies. The exporters and farmers are organised into the Association of Exporters of Agricultural Products of Suriname (Vereniging van Exporteurs van Agrarische Producten Suriname – VEAPS). This is a professional association that provides training and information to its members with regard to markets and trends, as well as technical assistance in relation to crop management.

During the past years Suriname has experienced a high number of plant health interceptions in the EU amongst which the following pests : Thrips Palmi, Spodophtera and Bemisia Tabaci. This has triggered a plant health audit by the European Commission (EC), which took place in September 2019 , auditing the official control system of Suriname for the export of plants to the EU. In 2019, Suriname was among the ACP countries with the most interceptions –harmful organisms and pesticide residue exceedances.

Official controls, including the delivery of the phytosanitary certificates, is done by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries of Suriname (LVV, Ministerie van Landbouw Veeteelt en Visserij) division of Inspection Services.

Under the Fit For Market and Fit For Market SPS programmes 10 requests for support have been submitted from Suriname, including LVV inspections services (the NPPO), VEAPS (the exporters association), 4 service providers and the 2 companies. A mission was executed in August 2018 to introduce the FFM programmes and analyse requests for support.

COLEACP supported the Surinam NPPO (LVV) in July 2019 with an assessment of their phytosanitary control system in preparation for the scheduled EC Plant Health Audit and by providing a detailed road map, with the activities to be implemented,.

Suriname must reinforce the SPS control system to respond effectively to EU requirements and both public and private sectors need to take the necessary steps to ensure consignment conformity.

A Surinamese expert was trained in the COLEACP TOT pedagogical skills.

Since March 2020, with the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, COLEACP has adapted to continue working while integrating domestic and international guidelines. The safety of people, including partners, service providers, and members, is COLEACP’s priority.
Our field activities have been adjusted to comply with the precautionary measures related to Covid-19.

While this does not have a direct impact on the main focus areas of the strategy in Suriname, it does involve adaptations to technical support, the increased use of remote communication and meeting tools, and as far as possible the accelerated digitization of advisory and training activities.

The staff of the Surinamese NPPO has taken part in digital and blended trainings to strengthen their capacities among others related to execution and implementation of official controls. Additional extension staff were trained to perform inspections, increasing the capacity of LVV in this area.
The training for implementation of official controls was organized solely for the Surinamese inspectors, because of the issue to do with the Dutch language.

The implementation of the rapid self-assessment tool for NPPO (RSAT) , which allows for a rapid self assessment of the national SPS system, has started for Suriname in Q3 2021.
Moreover, Surinamese companies took part in a regional training on crop protection and safe use of pesticides and will be systematically invited to regional trainings of relevance for the Surinamese context.

A Surinamese company was assisted by a business expert to assess resilience and cash flow management in times of crisis, and the same company will be assisted to assess whether it can transform into a social enterprise.
VEAPS has been supported with an assessment of the economic feasibility of the set up of quality management systems for plant health and food safety amongst its members.

Since January 2021, COLEACP counts with the support of a focal point in the country (National Relay). The services provided by the national relay mainly contribute to facilitate relations with the various stakeholders in both public and private sectors, particularly at decision-making level and assist the COLEACP team in ensuring that the activities of the Association’s programmes are consistent with other projects and programmes implemented by other organisations whose objectives, or part of whose objectives, relate to the same field of activity.

To reduce the number of interceptions LVV will be supported to develop guidelines for pest monitoring and surveillance, for crop production and crop protection practices at field level as well as guidelines for good inspection practices at packhouse level for eggplant and pepper, as well as associated checklists for LVV inspectors; and VEAPS and its members will be supported on implementing these improved good practices at field and packhouse level.
The staff of the NPPO will be invited to digital training to strengthen their capacities among others related to official controls and surveillance.

Partnerships in Suriname

Exchanges took place Suriname pilot of the “Accelerator for Agriculture and Agro-industry Development and Innovation” (3ADI+). 3ADI+ is a programme spearheaded by FAO and UNIDO to support the development of food value chains in developing countries. In Suriname, the 3ADI+ pilot currently focuses on the analysis of the pineapple value chain . 3ADI +, in turn, provides technical support to the FAO/EU Suriname Agriculture Market Access Project (SAMAP), which will analyze and develop various fruit and vegetable value chains

FAO/EU Suriname Agriculture Market Access Project (SAMAP): exchanges took place with the managers of this programme, a 13 million Euro project, focused on commercializing non-traditional products, such as fruit, vegetables and non-timber forest products, such as wild berries. The SAMAP experts executing TOT’s for LVV extension staff on crop protection and safe use of pesticides, made use of the COLEACP methodology and training tools.