Caribbean Agribusiness Cluster: A Platform for Cooperation

Filed Under: EARTH News
Date: March 31st, 2023

From 2020 to November 2022, the Caribbean Agribusiness Cluster served as a platform for cooperation among farmers to create new employment sources, healthy market competition, and social progress for residents in Costa Rica’s Huetar-Caribbean region. Several years in the making, this project arose from the need to connect the triple helix: the central government, the agricultural business sector, and academia. It also addressed the need to generate a regional economic model that can be replicated in different sectors of the country.

During this period of intense work, the Cluster focused on four essential value chains for the area: cacao, tropical fruits, roots and tubers, and livestock products. Using this as a starting point, the team carefully proposed solutions – without interfering with or duplicating actions taken by other entities – to activate unused infrastructure, strengthen and standardize the quality of agricultural production and value-added according to market demand, incorporate small farmers into national and global value chains, upgrade and streamline bureaucratic processes, and improve applied research on national and international economic productivity.

“The greatest impact we achieved was generating a regional coordination mechanism to advance economic development. We created spaces of trust in which EARTH University provided academic credibility since the government, the business sector, and civil society all trust EARTH and its mission. This facilitated the confidence and closeness to foster connections and work together on economic development plans,” shared Gabriel Mora (‘00, Costa Rica), who served as Technical Coordinator of the Caribbean Agribusiness Cluster.

The platform implemented the following actions to achieve its objectives and impact through a comprehensive approach:

  1. It worked on a series of technical training for post-harvesting, developing production protocols, and using technology in agriculture.
  2. Investment plans were developed to enable farmers to consolidate and grow their businesses. In December 2022, technical training was held with the University of Costa Rica, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, and bank executives and regional and operational managers from the Banco de Costa Rica, Coocique, and Banco Nacional de Costa Rica.
  3. The organization, alliances, and cooperation among farmers in the Huetar-Caribbean region were strengthened.
  4. Added value was boosted in the four value chains on which the platform focused.

At EARTH, we are extremely proud to have participated in an initiative that has impacted the lives of hundreds of farmers. We hope this working model will be a beacon for other public and private institutions.