By Rachel Boyce and Carmine Paolo De Salvo
For many Caribbean countries, the agricultural sector is still of significant importance. Rice production in Suriname and Guyana, for example, represents crucial economic activity for these countries. However, on a whole, Caribbean agriculture is facing substantial challenges. This is in part due to the diminution and elimination of European Union (EU) preferences for major agricultural exports together with the general impact of globalization and the limited competitiveness of several local products. It is important to recognize as well that the performance of the agricultural sector is determined by many independent factors which require further study and exploration. One such important element of the equation is, of course, agricultural policy.
To measure and monitor agricultural policies, the IDB has adopted the Producer Support Estimate (PSE) methodology developed by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This methodology is particularly useful as it provides a standardized quantitative method of measurement of the support provided to the agricultural sector. The Agrimonitor initiative has so far applied this methodology to 18 of its member countries.
By this point you may be wondering: what is Agrimonitor? Agrimonitor is the IDB Producer Support Estimates (PSE) country-level database for Latin American and Caribbean countries. It enables policy makers, policy analysts, and students to track agricultural policies and to assess and measure the composition of the support to agriculture. How much support is given to farmers? Through which programs? How this affects prices and consumers? All these answers can be found in Agrimonitor.
Since the PSE studies, at least those conducted by the IDB, are relatively new to the region, the Agrimonitor has developed a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) to help shed light on the importance of agricultural policy and the PSE tool to targeted and potential beneficiaries.
In this course, students will learn the overall effects of agricultural policy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Specifically, the first week of the course will address agricultural policies, their instruments, their effect on the economy and the agricultural sector in specific countries. In the second week, the Producer Support Estimate Methodology (PSE) and its importance in understanding agricultural policy will be addressed. Week 3 of the course will present AGRIMONITOR as a useful way to explain agricultural policies in the region, compare trade policies and competitive strategies for their key products in selected countries in Latin-America and the Caribbean. The effects of agriculture and agricultural policy on food security in Latin-America and the Caribbean will be the core of Week 4, whereas Week 5 will cover the use of AGRIMONITOR to evaluate the effect of agricultural policies on climate change in Latin-America and the Caribbean.
The course presents case studies from specific countries to help students to gain a better grasp of the application of the PSE methodology, its indicators and the overall effects of agricultural policy. The course will be taught by experts who include professionals from the IDB and other international institutions, professors, agricultural policy analysts, and government officials.
The best students will also be able to participate in a research grant competition and win up to 10,000 USD to develop their research proposals with the IDB Agrimonitor team!
Do not let this opportunity to learn more about the agricultural sector in your region miss you! To register or for more details click here.