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Agricultural R&D in the Caribbean: An Institutional and Statistical Profile

Agricultural R&D in the Caribbean: An Institutional and Statistical Profile

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Roseboom, J.; Cremers, M.; Lauckner, B.


International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR)

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Overview publications

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Caribbean, Angl.

This study surveyed agricultural R&D capacity in the Caribbean in order to gain better insight into its structure and development, as well as its potential contribution to the development of agriculture in the region.

This study has several principal findings:

a. Agricultural research capacity in the Caribbean is highly fragmented. Of the 116 agricultural research agencies for which data were obtained, 84 employed less than 10
FTE researchers, and 62 employed less than 5.

b. Between 1986 and 1996, the growth in agricultural research capacity in the Caribbean almost halted in terms of the number of researchers, and contracted in terms of expenditures. However, strong positive growth was still noted for the French bilateral research agencies.

c. Agricultural research investment levels relative to AgGDP are rather high for many of the smaller Caribbean countries. This is not necessarily an indication of intensive innovation, but rather a lack of economies of scale. Such high intensities are possible because of generous donor support or a rich non-agricultural sector.

d. For every 100 million dollars of crop, livestock, forestry, and fisheries production, the region employed, respectively, 33.5, 10.9, 13.0, and 48.9 FTE researchers.  Assuming that innovation opportunities are the same for all four types of production, livestock and forestry appear neglected when compared to crops and fisheries.

e. Lack of economies of scale in the agricultural input and processing industries, as well as in the provision of public services (including agricultural research), is a  serious handicap for modern agricultural production in many of the small Caribbean countries. Commodity specialization and clustering of research activities across countries are some ways of creating enough volume of research benefits to pay for research costs.