Le Nouvelliste,  Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 9, 2013, John Perez Jerome


Georgetown, Capital of Guyana, place of “The 12th Caribbean Week of Agriculture” (CWA), October 7–12.  An opportunity for experts and officials from different parts of the world and members of the press to discuss the many opportunities and weaknesses of the region’s agriculture. Haitian women working in the field of handcrafts have the opportunity to share their experiences with the rest of the Caribbean.

“Addressing food insecurity in the Caribbean, economic opportunities for women in the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands, climate change and strategies to strengthen the industries of fishing and coconut” are some of topics being discussed during the week.  This past weekend journalists were treated to a two-day workshop on the Caribbean agricultural industry, before the official opening of the event, under the auspices of CARDI, CTA and ACM. The goal was to show the Caribbean press the important role it can play in the promotion of agriculture in the region.

Haiti’s participation in the activities of the 12th Caribbean Week of Agriculture is at an early stage. It was the delegation of seven women from the Central Plateau to the workshop on economic opportunities for women in the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands who represented Haiti. The organization works in the manufacture of soap.

Marie- Roberte Laurent presented to the audience the work of fifteen women of Pwodiksyon Fanm Plato Santral (PWOFAPLAS). “Our products are sold in hotels in several departments of the country,” said Ms. Laurent, founder of BELZEB, a company that manufactures organic craft products including herbal soap and botanicals, for sale in Haiti and in other countries the Caribbean.

The work of the women of PWOFAPLAS has been developed by AID TO ARTISANS, HAITI. It is supported by the Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE) and its Caribbean office in the Dominican Republic, with Babs Adenaike at the helm. Marie- Roberte Laurent of Aid to Artisans Haiti, who plays the role of business trainer and business partner at PWOFAPLAS, believes that the products placed in the market are very much in demand. Based on the results already achieved in a year of operation, she thinks PWOFAPLAS has a bright future. She emphasized that the women and their enterprise still need coaching and support to reach their full potential.

This workshop was not just an opportunity for the Haitian delegation to share its experience with other women entrepreneurs in the region, it was also a learning opportunity. “The difficulties are almost the same everywhere,” concluded Ms. Laurent after attending the presentation of the other panelists.

The Caribbean Week of Agriculture was launched in 1998 by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and CARICOM to promote agriculture in the region. A range of other institutions have since joined. The overall theme of the 12th edition is “Linking the Caribbean for Regional Food and Nutrition Security and Development”.