Building resiliency into the system.
The World Bank estimates that between 80% and 90% of all food consumed in the Caribbean comes from abroad.
Only three countries in the region (Guyana, Belize, and Haiti) produce more than 50% of their own food. This overreliance on expensive food imports has persisted for decades and impacts not only the lives of the people within the region but also entire economies which suffer from hard currency leaving the area unnecessarily.
In addition, the Caribbean’s dependence on food imports leads to access and quality issues, which are exacerbated by external market forces and unpredictable supply chain issues (such as those caused by the global pandemic). Beyond the challenges created for residents, businesses must also bear the burden of higher and more volatile food prices which trickles down to job availability and stunts growth potential.
The Caribbean is not the Arctic but rather possesses an inviting climate with substantial opportunity to produce, store, and distribute most of its food needs. Because grocery stores, hotels, cruise ships, and others already pay a premium for often lower quality food, the opportunity exists to invest in solutions that will generate attractive financial returns while also building resiliency and retaining within the region currency used for food purchases.