Crop insurance deemed better alternative to a bailout

Grenada Co-operative Nutmeg Assocation (GCNA) Complex, Kirani James Boulevard, St George’s

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada 

  • Crop insurance better alternative to government bailout
  • Ministry of Agriculture collaborating with Food and Agriculture Organisation on insurance scheme
  • WINCROP banana insurance scheme suggested for nutmeg model

Minister for Agriculture Yolande Bain Horsford said that crop insurance is a better alternative to government bailout of farmers after a natural disaster.

The minister said this is among priority areas for government in the new year when she spoke at the Grenada Cooperative and Nutmeg Association (GCNA) Annual General Meeting on Thursday. “The current construct where the government has to intervene to bail out farmers time and time again following major disasters is definitely untenable and unsustainable.”

The Ministry of Agriculture has been collaborating with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to develop an insurance scheme for crop and livestock farmers as part of a pilot project that is expected to be implemented in Jamaica and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The minister said FAO consultants met with various stakeholders in Grenada and submitted a report to the government for review. She read an excerpt from the report: “For Grenada, the entry point for promoting the adoption of agriculture risk management products could be the development of insurance coverage for nutmeg production. The approach suggested would be to adapt to nutmeg production the name “Peril Insurance” a model adopted by WINCROP (Windward Island Crop Insurance Ltd) for bananas…The existing production and marketing structure for nutmeg in Grenada is conducive for the implementation for such an insurance approach.”

The minister expressed her dissatisfaction for another drop in price for nutmeg on the European market and commended the board of the GCNA for achieving a surplus of over $1 million despite the drop in price, which, according to the GCNA annual report, went from US$7,400 to US$6,900 per ton. The minister said this decline for the price of nutmeg on the international market is very depressing. “About 5 years ago, a ton of nutmeg was sold for approximately $25,000 per ton so essentially colleagues the current price is just around 28% of what was obtained a few years ago. This is the brutal reality of the marketing of fresh commodities on the international market.” Addressing another burning issue for GCNA is the status of the Amendments to GCNA and GCA Ordinances. This was among recommendations outlined in the International Monetary Fund’s 6th Review Report of May 2017. A study was conducted by Compete Caribbean, but the GCNA board is yet to receive feedback on the amended ordinance.

The Agriculture Minister explained that recommendations are now before the Ministry of Legal Affairs and that they too are awaiting feedback. “The Ministry of Agriculture submitted the recommendations to the Ministry of Legal Affairs some time ago, but so far we are still waiting for feedback. We had discussions with the Minister for Legal Affairs a few weeks ago, and this situation will be dealt with seriously in 2019.”

The GCNA’s noteworthy achievements over the period under review include:

  • HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) training for staff
  • Preparing for the visit of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the first quarter of 2019
  • Training of station workers in quality assurance and control
  • Promoting and branding of Grenada nutmeg
  • Using the Beaulieu facility to process cocoa
  • Hosting food and beverage competition in February 2019
  • Lobbying for an increase in nutmeg production areas of decline
  • Having farmers own assets of the GCNA
  • Search for grant funds to establish the nutmeg museum
  • Seek European Union (EU) special funding for making the processing stations HACCP certified
  • Establishing markets in Ghana and the USA.

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