Globally and within the Caribbean, agriculture’s contribution to economic development is recognized. With respect to CARICOM countries, various initiatives are pursued, nationally and regionally, to formulate agricultural policy in pursuit of increased output from the sector. Initial optimal results are unlikely from among the myriad approaches to these attempts at agricultural policy formulation. Instead, the path to the best policy strategy for any designated agricultural environment is an iterative one that builds on three key fundamentals: relevant theory, focused empirical analyses and facilitating institutions. The theory elucidates the decision environment of the producer and consumer. Empirical analyses evaluate extant strategies and present concrete feedback for relevant market issues and policy impact. Institutions provide a framework for various market transactions and support systems. It is argued that these rudiments can be envisaged as three pillars of agricultural policy formulation requiring equal emphasis for optimal policy impact. The inter-relationship and relative importance of these fundamentals is examined within the context of the design and impact evaluation of agricultural policy. The motivation for proposing the application of this three-legged-stool model to agricultural policy formulation within CARICOM countries is that the current practice of uneven emphasis on these fundamentals may result in policy prescriptions that foster sub-optimal goal impacts.


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