CaFAN Activities

Farmers Associatons and Community-based Disaster Management in the Caribbean

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Fulfilling its mandate to Caribbean Farmers’ Associations across the region, the CaFAN will be hosting a regional workshop on “Community Based Disaster Management (CDM) in the Caribbean. The workshop is schedule to take place from April 20-23, 2009 at the Bay Gardens Inn in St. Lucia. 

The workshop will bring together over twenty-five participants from regional and national farmer organizations and national and regional disaster management organisations.   The main objective of the workshop is to identify a plan of action that farmers can adopt to minimize the risks of Natural disasters to their resources.


The Caribbean region is one of the most natural disaster prone areas of the world. Hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and floods continue to be threats to the regional infrastructure and agriculture. Natural disaster impacts on the agricultural sector results in millions of dollars of losses and increase the vulnerability of food security and agricultural businesses of the region. Projected climate shifts and changes will increase the frequency, randomness and severity of these natural disasters.  The Strategic Plan 2005-2015 of the Caribbean Community identifies the following disaster priority areas of action: Hazard Mapping and Vulnerability Assessment, Community Disaster Planning, Climate Change and Knowledge Enhancement. It also recognises the need for a paradigm shift from emergency relief to disaster management which includes the reduction of vulnerability and capacity development. From this perspective, disaster management and development are intertwined.   The importance of community-based disaster management (CDM) is emphasised and advocated for key economic sectors, including agriculture. CDM has two intertwined pillars:
  • Risk management that aims to “lessen the impacts of natural hazards and related environmental and technological disasters”
  • Risk reduction that aims to “minimize vulnerabilities[1], hazards and the unfolding of disaster impacts in the broad context of development”[2]. 

With regard to the latter pillar, CDM is therefore expected to contribute towards reducing physical, social and economic vulnerabilities of communities to natural disasters, whether major or minor, national or local and  whether it has been reported in the media or not.  In order to design and implement an effective CDM there is a need to assess not only the vulnerabilities of a given community but also its capacity to respond to emergency situations, mitigate risks and increase its resilience. In this context, better equipped community groups are those which have:

  • Committed themselves and developed a culture of safety and resilience
  • Strong links with other communities, organizations and Government agencies especially for situations that they cannot address by themselves. 
 In addition to research work, consultancies and reports, a number of workshops on disaster management have been conducted in the Caribbean. The most recent ones are: 
  • Agricultural Risk Management Seminar, organized by IICA and the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands of Jamaica at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (Montego Bay, 10 October 2007)
  • 2nd Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management organized by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) (Barbados, December 2007). 

 These two major events have raised awareness of the need to implement CDM as an additional element to the preparedness, management and mitigation capacities of the region with regard to natural disasters. 


 Expected Results
  • Define a plan of action that farmers can adopt to minimize the risks to their resources
  • CaFAN Farmers’ Associations will be informed and knowledgeable on CDM
  • A list of requirements on capacity of farmers’ organizations to prepare for, respond to, quantify and mitigate disasters will be compiled
  •  A determination of CaFAN and its associated member organizations’ participation in:
  • o    design and promotion of CDMo    advocacy and resource mobilization for CDM
  • o    implementation of specific elements of CDM


Workshop ApproachThe workshop will build on the latest debates and practical experiences on CDM within and outside of the region.  In this context, it will take into consideration previous and current research, studies, workshops and communication activities on CDM. CaFAN will seek the inputs and advice from a Caribbean expert in disaster mitigation and management through the preparatory, implementation and follow-up phase of the workshop.   Workshop themes:
  • Natural disaster projections and risks
  • Vulnerabilities to natural disasters at the local level
  • Approaches and techniques for assessing, planning and managing  risks by farmers’ associations
  • o    Emergency preparedness
  • o    Mitigation
  • Capacity requirements from farmers’ organisations and how they can be met
  • The roles and contributions of CaFAN in disaster risk management
  • Activities will include:
  • Plenary sessions on:
  • o    key issues and constraintso    solutions and proposals
  • o    conclusions and the way forward
  • Working group sessions
  • Identification of post-workshop activities
  • Workshop evaluation.

[1] “Vulnerabilities are generally defined as long-term factors that affect the ability of a community to respond to events or make it susceptible to calamities. They contribute to a disaster’s severity, impede effective responses, are present before disaster strikes and remain long after the event is over” (Johan Kieft and Aspian Nur,
[2] Jacob Opadey and Balfour Spencer. The Disaster Risk Management Benchmarking Tool for the Caribbean. 2nd Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management. Barbados, December 200

About CaFAN

The Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN), formed in 2004, is a regional network of Farmers' Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the Caribbean. CaFAN's major focus is to foster linkages, training and information sharing amongst Caribbean farmers so that they are in a better position to respond to the key challenges facing the agricultural sector in the Caribbean.

CaFAN organises training workshops, advocacy, study tours, information sharing, regional planning sessions, and produces a variety of publications.

CaFAN Members

Membership of CaFAN is open to farmers’ associations in countries of the Caribbean region. To date, the following countries have participated in activities of CaFAN:  Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts/Nevis; St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname.

See our list of members

CaFAN Partners

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Stay in touch with CaFAN

P.O Box 827
New Montrose
St. Vincent & the Grenadines, West Indies