Marketing agricultural information services in the Eastern Caribbean

Publication Date01 May 1996
Date01 May 1996
AuthorSue Evan‐Wong
SubjectLibrary & information science
This paper is based on a study which was
undertaken for the Organization of Eastern
Caribbean States (OECS), a sub-regional
grouping of small island states in the Eastern
Caribbean. Members of the grouping are
identified in the map shown in Figure 1. They
are: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grena-
da, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia
and St Vincent and the Grenadines, with the
British Virgin Islands and Anguilla as associ-
ate members.
Historically, agriculture has been the most
important sector in the sub-region, although
its dominance has declined in recent years
with the fall of exports of traditional crops
such as banana and sugar, plus the increased
growth in the tourism sector and greater
emphasis on the development of manufactur-
ing. Agriculture is, however, still of major
importance to the economic development of
the OECS. Along with the traditional crops,
all the islands produce root crops, vegetables
and fruits – the so-called “non-traditional”
crops – both for local consumption and,
increasingly, for export.
In 1989 the OECS set up an agricultural
diversification co-ordinating unit (ADCU):
“to develop appropriate mechanisms to accel-
erate the process of diversification of the
agricultural sectors of member countries and
to explore avenues for the joint marketing of
OECS agricultural products”[1].
In order to implement their programme,
ADCU is undertaking a number of activities
including the development and maintenance
of a market intelligence system (MKIS). The
system currently provides:
monitoring of the UK and Canadian mar-
monitoring of the crops exported; and
quality assessments of exports.
Exporters of non-traditional crops demand
and use this information. The co-ordinator of
the ADCU has, however, identified a problem
in the marketing of the MKIS:
We would hope the information is not restricted
to exporters and that the extension services will
use it more effectively. The problem we have is
that our information, when it gets to the min-
istry, gets locked up and the front-line people
who need the information, to know what’s
happening in the market often do not get the
information. This is going to be a major chal-
lenge for us in the period ahead[2].
This paper recommends solutions to this
problem and in so doing, attempts to evolve a
Library Management
Volume 17 · Number 3 · 1996 · pp. 22–28
© MCB University Press · ISSN 0143-5124
Marketing agricultural
information services in
the Eastern Caribbean
Sue Evan-Wong
The author
Sue Evan-Wong is Manager of the Documentation Centre
at the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Economic
Affairs Secretariat in Antigua, West Indies.
Presents a methodology for marketing an information
service effectively. Focuses on the market intelligence
system being developed by the Organization of Eastern
Caribbean States’ agricultural diversification co-ordinating
unit (OECS-ADCU). The methodology developed is based
on a strategic approach to marketing which involves:
analysis of the system’s environment; segmentation and
needs assessment of its client groups; an information audit
of the existing system; analysis of market and product
opportunities; and the development of recommendations
for a tactical marketing programme and its evaluation so
that the system continues to reflect the priorities of its
clients. The marketing strategy developed emphasizes
client input and may be adopted by libraries, information
centres and systems wishing to develop and market their

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