The project that led to CocoaNEXT addressed the factors which negatively influenced cocoa cultivation to bring about long term changes which will ultimately lead to increased cocoa production in the Caribbean.
A conference and symposium titled “Seeding Innovations along the Cocoa Valuation Chain” was run with co-financing through the International Fine Cocoa Innovation Centre (IFCIC) project.
The session “Caribbean Regional Perspectives- Market Needs and Opportunities” focused on the requirements of the cocoa industries in Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. Mr. Kamaldeo Maharaj from the Ministry of Food Production represented Trinidad and Tobago; Ms. Shadel Nyack Compton from Belmont Estate represented Grenada; Mr. Leroy Gray from the Cocoa Industry Board (CIB) represented Jamaica and Mr. Mohammid Haniff King from the Ministry of Agriculture represented St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Though there was no one to represent St. Lucia at the symposium, other exploratory sessions were conducted with St Lucia and two other Caribbean countries, Haiti and Dominica to identify the needs or gaps of their cocoa industries and what services Cocoa Research Centre could provide to alleviate their assessed problems in order to eventually increase cocoa production.
Additionally CRC co-facilitated a three–day information regional workshop in Dominica on cocoa industry self-assessment and gap analysis. There was also a best practice exchange among Eastern Caribbean States (ECS) countries for fine cocoa food safety and quality in production, processing and marketing for export to European Union (EU), international and regional markets.