With the first inaugural Agri Investment and Expo Forum to slated for a Thursday opening, Assistant Secretary General of the CARICOM Secretariat Joseph Cox said he is optimistic that this event will be a continuous event for the Caribbean region. Spreaking at a press conference on Monday, Cox said "We have so much opportunities in this region for investment, for development....the irony of it, we're in the region, we're not really short of capital but its how we allocate that capital to optimise the yield." According to the Assistant Secretary General, this first exposition will give the organisers the opportunity to retool and reshape where necessary for future expositions. "So therefore I am going to be very optimistic and say that this will be a regular aspect of the regional agenda because I dare say at this stage of our development we cannot afford to fail."
Cox added that this serves as an opportunity for effective partnership between the states and private sector in the various Caribbean states.
"We're too blessed to be stressed and too rich to be poor, is full time that we capitalise on the opportunities that confront us by day. We have opportunities in livestock, we have opportunities in food processing because we're moving up the value chain." Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha also expressed optimism in the continued Agri Investment Forum and Expo.
"Hopefully this can be a regular process in the Caribbean where we can look at a regular interval of hosting these investment forum," he stated.
This first ever investment exposition is expected to facilitate much needed investment in the agriculture sector as Caribbean leaders work to reduce the $6B food import bill by 25% by 2025. At the 33rd Inter-Sessional Conference of Heads of Government, President
Ali outlined a detailed Action Plan for commercialising the agri-food sector while reducing the food import bill by 25%. At that meeting, the CARICOM Heads of Government agreed that an Agri-Investment
Forum and Expo would be an appropriate platform to address the issue of
investment in the regional agriculture sector.