by Linda Straker
A glut of nutmeg on the international market has resulted in a drop in the price offered to nutmeg farmers in Grenada.
Leo Cato, Chairman of the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association (GCNA) said that as of 20 January, the GCNA has reduced the price of green nutmegs from EC$4 to $3 per pound.
Cato said that the association is now working on a plan to reduce the amount of nutmegs that are exported to the European market, and instead, supply markets that are paying better prices. “We think this is the best thing to do — the price is like gasoline and petrol — it fluctuates,” explained Cato. “Europe is where most of our nutmeg goes, two-thirds of our Nutmeg goes to Europe and that market determines what we pay our farmers, so when we receive less, we have to pay less,” he said.
Cato, who last year had the uneasy task of informing nutmeg farmers that they would not receive an annual end of year bonus because of receiving reduced prices of nutmeg, confirms that the association is looking to improve its market in non-European markets.
There is already an arrangement with the South American nation of Argentina, and Cato said that the price received from Europe is far better. “So as part of our strategy, the plan is to move away from our dependence on Europe, two-thirds of what is produced goes there, we want to supply markets that are giving us better prices,” said the Chairman, who pointed out that besides Argentina, the Association gets good prices from a number of Caricom countries including Jamaica, Trinidad and Antigua.
Before 2004, Grenada was the second highest producer of nutmeg on the world market, behind Indonesia.