Aligning investors around opportunities in the coconut industry in Jamaica

In 2018, the International Trade Centre (ITC) as co-lead of the workstream on alignment of investment in the SAFIN network launched the first pilot of the investment prospectus framework under the EU-supported Alliance for Action (A4A) programme in Jamaica. The A4A programme aims to foster inclusive sector and value chain development by enhancing the competitiveness of small-scale coconut producers through better regional integration and improved production performance.

Coconut farmer in St.Mary, Jamaica © ITC

In this context, the investment prospectus pilot was carried out to provide a sound analytical basis about investment opportunities and financing gaps in the sector, which could orient investment decisions related to Jamaica’s coconut industry within and beyond the A4A programme.

The investment prospectus for coconuts and associated crops in Jamaica was developed with the Coconut Industry Board (CIB) in the role of process anchor through a participatory process involving diverse actors in the coconut value chain: government agencies, the private sector, service providers and coconut farmers. The document highlights opportunities in seedling business development and processing of coconut water for local consumption and international export.

The results

Thanks to sector-wide dialogue and investment planning under the A4A programme, the pilot contributed to the design of sustainable financial solutions to support the investment capacity of smallholder farmers in Jamaica. Within one year, discussions initiated by ITC, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), CIB and other project partners with major firms have resulted in over 22 Million USD in pledged investment into Jamaica’s coconut industry.

The investment prospectus process has also led to a strategic partnership between ITC and the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), which adapted financial products to better meet the needs of smallholder farmers and MSMEs in the agricultural sector, such as the smallholder agri-loans. DBJ has also provided training to more than 200 smallholder farmers and MSMEs in financial literacy and management in response to the findings of the prospectus.

Farmer training on coconut nursery management © ITC

In an interview with ITC, Dr. Wayne Myrie, Plant Pathologist at CIB explained the role of the prospectus in CIB’s activities:

The investment prospectus identified huge gaps at seed production level. This prompted us to invest in upgrading nurseries and in boosting Jamaica’s coconut seed production – which is fundamental to the development of the coconut industry…While CIB focused more on resolving and preventing plant diseases, we have now complemented this with long-term planning for better seed production.

Looking ahead

The SAFIN investment prospectus framework has proven to be a valuable diagnostic tool to effectively engage stakeholders on investment gaps and potential solutions in Jamaica’s coconut industry. Alliances for Action is looking to replicate this approach in other Caribbean countries, tailoring it to the needs of each country and value chain. The SAFIN Secretariat and ITC are currently discussing future collaborations to strengthen the tool by using it in synergy with the Alliance for Action approach.

Coconut seedlings in Nagua, Dominican Republic © ITC

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