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Latin America & The Caribbean Must Improve Their Agricultural Practices To Increase Productivity

As the world's population increases, so too must efficiency in agriculture and food production in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Speaking at a recent meeting of  leaders in the Agricultural Sector in Mexico,  Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Víctor M. Villalobos told attendees of the need to apply good practices, implement knowledge-based methods, make adequate use of technology, and sustainably manage natural resources. 

“Fostering agriculture that is based on knowledge and is mindful of planning, innovation and investment, will allow for creating a more competitive agrifood sector,” stated Villalobos.

The meeting was inaugurated by Mexico's Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, who highlighted that “the main objective is working together for a more productive sector; agricultural planning must focus on making well-founded changes, that are far from inert changes.”

The Director General of IICA also highlighted the importance of applying knowledge in the field in order to increase the productivity of farmlands, improve competition in global markets, and guarantee a fair livelihood for producers, which would in turn discourage youth from migrating from rural to urban areas.



Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre: Leading The Regional Response To Climate Change 

Since its inception in 2014, the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC) programme has been leading the way in developing a regionally integrated approach to solving the Caribbean’s climate, energy, and resource challenges.

The programme aims to assist Caribbean island states to adapt to and mitigate the impact of climate change by empowering each territory to create clean technologies and businesses, and strengthening several critical areas.

Chief executive officer, Everton Hanson, said that the Centre is taking an entrepreneurial approach to addressing the issues. “The purpose of this project is to build an entrepreneurial eco system that will foster growth-oriented entrepreneurs and profitable businesses that address climate change mitigation and adaptation,” he said.

So far the bold initiative has met with success, instituting innovative activities in its goal of supporting companies from the nascent stage to an advanced stage of development. This has been accomplished through the staging of boot camps and accelerator programmes, among other activities.

One of its more notable programmes, the proof of concept (PoC) competition held in 2015, invited innovators to present designs and concepts for products which can be transformed into viable businesses.

Over 300 innovators from 13 Caribbean countries applied for grant funding through the competition, with 11 winners being selected. The successful participants, were awarded grants ranging from US$10,000 to $50,000, came from Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St Lucia and Belize.



Commonwealth Ministers Tackle Cybercrime

Commonwealth ministers, policymakers and cyber security experts gathered in St. Lucia this week for a three-day consultation to tackle the rising incidents of cybercrime in the Caribbean.

The Commonwealth Secretariat said that major cybercrimes reported in the region to date include the theft of US$150 million from an international bank in 2014; individuals claiming to be local ISIS supporters hacking government websites in 2015; and, in the same year, hackers infecting tax authorities with ransomware, which prevents users from accessing their systems until demands money have been met.

“We welcome the opportunity to partner again with the Commonwealth Secretariat and advance economic and social development in the region through enabling technology,” said Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunication Union (CTU).

The meeting brought together ministers responsible for legal affairs, Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and national security, attorneys general from the Caribbean and international organisations, such as Interpol, The Council of Europe, FBI and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative conducted assessments in five Commonwealth Caribbean countries, namely Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados, which revealed an upsurge in cybercrime.



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