Can new technologies help change global power geometries?

18 June, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15a George Square, Staff Room 6.02, Edinburgh EH8 9LD

This is an agricultural trade workshop with Caribbean partners in Edinburgh. Open to everyone interested in technology, agriculture, trade, development. The workshop will close at 5pm with a drinks reception and exhibition of Caribbean products.


The North and South of the globe have traditionally assumed trading dynamics that reflect historically uneven power geometries; with economic benefits from post-harvest value-added activity accruing to companies in the global North and declining market values for raw materials coming from the South.

New economic conditions and technologies, however, are providing opportunities for alternative models of agricultural trade and development. A growing middle class in developing countries, the increasing popularity of niche products, and new ways of mediating funds, offer farmers more choices to grow and commercialise their produce. Connectivity allows for greater exchange of information and more dynamic pricing. Technological systems can help to track and coordinate transactions and exchanges, and data technologies such as blockchains can help foster trust in such systems. There is great potential for these technologies to support value-added development in a bottom-up manner, potentially promoting the development of new local and regional markets for agricultural value-added products.

This workshop will look at challenges faced by Caribbean countries and regions to promote regional and international trade, considering past experiences with technological applications and the potential of new technologies to support regional food production and trade particularly targeting the goals of the Food and Nutrition Policy of the CARICOM.



9.00 Arrivals and Coffee

9.30 Introductions

10.00 Session 1: Tech and Agriculture

  • Intro and Blockchain Development Demo
  • Nick Miller (AgUnity)
  • Catherine Thompson (Fairtrade UK)
  • Group Discussion

11.00 Coffee, tea and cake

11.20 Session 2: Focus on the Caribbean

  • Dr. Arlene Bailey (University of the West Indies, Mona)
  • Dr. Margaret Bernard (University of the West Indies, St. Augustine)
  • Group Discussion

12.15 Session 3: Caribbean Challenges

  • Tracey-Ann Wright (Eastern Caribbean Trading Agriculture and Development Organisation, ECTAD)
  • Allister Glean (Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura, IICA)
  • Nigel Durrant (Caribbean Community, CARICOM)
  • Group Discussion

13:10 Lunch

13.40 Break out discussion

14.00 Blockchain strategies, discussion of feasibility, ranking of problems

14.45 Group presentations

15.30 Coffee, tea and cake

15.45 Reflections and planning

17.00 – 18.30 Drinks reception with canapes and product showcase


For inquires, please contact L.Pschetz@ed.ac.uk

Organised by Dr. Larissa Pschetz (Design Informatics), Dr. Marisa Wilson (Institute of Geography) and Dr. Kate Symons (Centre of African Studies)

Chrystal Macmillan Building, The University of Edinburgh 15a George Square Staff Room 6.02 Edinburgh EH8 9LD