New senator outlines mandate for the agricultural sector

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Access to market and finance, institutional strengthening, and implementation of policies needed to ensure viability of the agriculture and fishing sectors
  • Land use policy and poultry policy to be looked into

Dr Dunstan Campbell, a former representative for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for Jamaica, Belize, and the Bahamas, is the new farming and fishing communities’ representative in the Grenada Upper House of Parliament. Campbell is no stranger to the industry as he is presently the President of the Grenada Organic Agriculture Movement and a director on the board of WINFRESH UK.

Access to market and finance, institutional strengthening, and implementation of policies geared towards ensuring the viability of the agriculture and fishing sectors are among the many mandates on his agenda. Demand for finance in agriculture spans a range of different types of capital, from short-term trade finance to long-term debt and equity investment. Dr Campbell believes all these types of financing must be explored to suit the needs of the industry.

Understanding the level of investment needed, Dr Campbell reiterated that farmers and agro-enterprises require an assortment of capital to succeed. “Around the world, farmers and fisherfolk require short-term working capital to be used to purchase farm inputs on a seasonal basis, or that agribusinesses use to purchase raw materials from farmers or to operate a leased agro-processing facility. The need for finance also includes medium-term financing for farm or agro-processing equipment, as well as long-term debt and equity investments to acquire capital goods and land. There are innovative ways of financing, so we have to look out the region for models for how people access to finance, for example through funding agencies such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Another major issue dear to my heart is the issue of crop insurance. While I was with the FAO I worked with the government to look at what we call index insurance where you buy coupons based on your level of risk so yes, we will look at that type of insurance,” said Campbell as he addressed the plight of the farming industry.

The new senator identified several policies that must be looked into including the land use policy and poultry policy to ensure that they are implemented to the benefit of the farming community.

“For instance, we have the land bank, land use policies and poultry policy; now clearly I must follow up on that to ensure that they are implemented. With regards to the fishers, there is a problem of safety at sea, exporting and cold storage so all these things must be addressed, and I am prepared to do just that.”

Campbell said working alongside the farmers and fisherfolk is paramount as he is prepared to hold himself and them accountable for the advancement of the sectors.

“I shall be working with the farmers to ensure that their business is above board, because I have told them clearly that I will not be going to parliament and give the opinions of Dunstan Campbell; because when I go to parliament I want to know that I am speaking for fisherfolk and farmers, especially those who are struggling.”

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