August 3, 2017: ‘In cocoa, we have an outstanding product, a world class product, highly desirable in [International] markets’ and what we have to do is ‘focus on protecting all elements of it and promoting it’. Addressing participants at the WIPO Seminar on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Exports: A Look at the Cocoa Industry in Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday 2nd August,2017, Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries’ Key Note Address focused on Innovation Strategy with a Focus on the Agro-Sector.


The Minister’s extensive Address focused on historical landmark legal cases which outlined the importance of protecting our intellectual property; outlining seven overarching challenges affecting the sector, including ‘framing agriculture in its appropriate economic context’ and that ‘agriculture goes beyond the economics and a vital part of the discussions [at this Seminar] should be the social impact of farming in rural communities’.  Senator Rambharat shared his goal to see the growth in the ‘contribution of agriculture to rural household incomes’, stating that ‘this is what we need to protect’ and that ‘our mandate is to measure and increase the contribution of food production to household incomes in rural communities’.


He specifically said to the participants that ‘the cornerstone of your discussions over the next three days must bridge the gap between technology, innovation and intellectual property and the realities of nutrition and food security and climate change’.


Also speaking at the Opening were Ms. Ingrid Seerattan, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs; Mr. Paul Regis, Program Officer, Caribbean Section, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO, Geneva; and Mr. Winston Rudder, Chairman, Cocoa Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (CDTTL).


The IPO, through the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, used the platform to present the Montserrat Cocoa Cooperative Society with the first GIS certification in Trinidad!


Topics to be addressed over the three-day Seminar include Intellectual Property (IP) as a Tool for Developing the Export Potential Agro-Industry. Geographical Indications (GIs) and Origin-Linked Products (OLPs) Examples Work in the Region; Creating the Agricultural Hub (Facilitating, Leading, Driving Project, Enhancing Export Potential, Enabling Funding, Fostering Sustainability); IP and National Innovation Policy: Experience of Trinidad and Tobago; Innovation at the Beginning of the Cocoa Value Chain (Development, Protection and Benefits); Plant Variety Protection as a Business (Licensing, Breeding, Marketing, Farming Methods Traceability, Control); Best Practices of Plant Variety Field (Case Study); IP Monetization Strategies for Agricultural based Products; Linking Products to their Origin (A Competitive Advantage in the Export Market; Setting-up Cooperatives and the Importance of Collective Action, the Why and How?; Beyond Certification: Strategies for Leveraging Quality; Importance of and Framework for Developing Product Specifications  in GIs/OLPs Areas; The Relevance of IP in the Agro Industry; Capturing Value from IP. Use of Trademarks, GIs and Designs for Competitive Advantage in Export.  Linking Products to their Origin.  Case Studies; Connecting Stakeholders: The Cocoa Value Chain of Trinidad and Tobago  and Opportunities; Connecting Stakeholders:  The Trinidad Fine Cocoa and Cocoa Republic Perspectives; Accessing Export Markets (Structured Approach); Roundtable Discussion:  Perspectives on The New Brand for Cocoa; Business Support Institutions (Role of Research and Technology Institutions in the Innovation and IP Process); Connecting the Ecosystem-Mobilization and Involvement of Key Stakeholders: Conducting Value Chain Analysis; Fostering the Innovation Culture Across Sectors; Innovative and Export Ready Best Practices in the Region; Positioning the Cocoa Industry (Tourism Perspective); Rebranding the Business of Cocoa.  A Coordinated Approach to Development (Value proposition: A Mindset Change, Capacity Building  at Every Link of the Value Chain, Technology Transfer, Production Sharing, Capturing Value through IP, Effective and Scalable Business Models and Telling the Story); Linking IP Offices to Innovation and Export Bodies.


The Cocoa Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited also came in for high praise from the Minister with him noting that they have ‘delivered on their mandate’ and continue to do so.


The Opening of the WIPO 3-day International Seminar was hosted at the Auditorium, Government Campus, Port of Spain.