by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- OECS Agriculture Competitiveness Project to benefit over 800 farmers
- Grenada Development Bank (GDB) engaged to support beneficiaries
The Ministry of Agriculture is to implement strict measures to ensure the success of the OECS Agriculture Competitiveness (AGRICOM) Project. Under this project over 800 farmers in Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines are expected to benefit from the AGRICOM project which is open to applicants from Thursday, 13 June.
Minister for Agriculture Yolande Bain Horsford said, “We have put measures in place to follow the project through. For example, the small allied aggregators, we will be monitoring their development ensuring that their standards are up to scratch. As a matter of fact, they have to come up to HACCP standards; it is not just doing things for the market. Traceability is another thing that comes to play, you must be able to trace where your produce comes from. All of these things will be a part of the development programme under this project.”
The AGRICOM project is financed by a loan of US$4.3 million from the World Bank International Development Association.
The project was somewhat delayed, but Minister Bain Horsford announced on Wednesday that the programmed will officially roll out, and called upon legitimate farmers and fisherfolk organisations to take advantage of partial grant funding.
“The farmer, fishers and allied aggregators will be eligible only if they are participating together in strategic productive alliance approved by the project to pursue the stated objective. So they must work together even though they have individual projects that they are doing. For example, you have a group of women who are doing different things in the community, one might be doing confectionery, one might be doing hot pepper sauce, jams, jelly. They must come together as a team, we wouldn’t be funding [people] individuals,” she said.
The project beneficiaries in Grenada will be composed of a minimum 25% youth and 25% female.
Minister Bain Horsford stated that the project team has also engaged the Grenada Development Bank (GDB) and has received keen interest in working to support beneficiaries.
The minister added that the ministry will also be assisting small scale potential grant recipients with their project proposal. “You can come to the unit and the unit will help you develop your project proposal to suit. So, we are giving the support from scratch because we really want to get people within the communities.”
The project will address the following specific objectives and strategic interventions in the national economic and social development plan:
- To increase market access for agricultural products by developing and implementing an export market thrust for agriculture produce.
- Deepening linkages between agriculture and other sectors, particularly tourism, manufacturing and the environment,
- Identifying required improvements in transportation and support services to ensure regular reliable movement of produce in the region and internationally
- Developing focused programmes and networking for the marketing of agricultural produce within and outside the region, including the expansion of opportunities for joint marketing.
- To contribute to food and nutrition security on a sustained basis by promoting the use of healthy and nutritious foods through various programs;
- To increase agricultural exports by developing a comprehensive export strategy for agricultural produce.
A submission deadline for applications will soon be made public by the Ministry of Agriculture.