Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are making efforts to leverage the pull of tourism to jump-start investment in other, high-potential industries. Among these, agriculture and fishing are recent beneficiaries of a new policy containing attractive incentives
Agriculture is one of the TCI’s less-developed sectors, counting a few local producers and a government farm as the only significant domestic sources of produce and livestock. But the country’s islands, particularly the Caicos Islands, offer substantial untapped potential. With an arid climate and fertile soil, low pest prevalence, and surrounded by oceans full of fish and marine life, TCI is capable of increasing its supply of crops and livestock in order to meet demand that is growing both from citizens and the tourism sector, TIC’s economic pillar.
In response, TCI has renewed its support and incentives for the sector in a wide-reaching agricultural policy – the government’s first – released earlier this year. This policy seeks to exploit the significant amount of agricultural land on islands such as North and Middle Caicos, and the potential for establishing aquaculture farms, to produce value-added crops and develop a domestic fisheries industry to reduce reliance on imports.
Hydroponic farming, food processing and fish farming have all been identified as priorities by the TCI government
Over 90 percent of TCI’s food is imported – some of it, such as shellfish, at substantial cost. With sea transportation dependent on weather conditions, agricultural investment also stands to increase food security on islands, along with jobs and revenue in rural areas, making it a win-win business decision for both the country and the overseas investor.