Grenada is looking forward to receiving support to safeguard food and agriculture through the Travellers’ Don’t Pack A Pest Programme (DPAP), which is supported by the US Department of Agriculture, US Customs and Border Protection and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The Plant Quarantine Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture is the key negotiating body for the project. This week, the unit hosted a delegation from the programme, with the aim to develop a signage proposal, for funding and implementation at different ports of entry here.
The delegation from the DPAP made a presentation to staff at the island’s main point of entry, the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) on Wednesday, 10 July 2019. They also toured the facility to identify potential sites for erecting signs.
Denis Martin head of the delegation, in making his presentation to members of different departments at MBIA said that the organisation is closing the loop on raising awareness on how there can be greater control of the number of pests and diseases transferred at the points of entry. An initiative as he furthered, was undertaken in the Caribbean to deal with risks associated with increased travellers.
“With that increased volume comes that increased risk that travellers take when they pack a little bit for vacation or home when they travel; that mango, orange or banana, may harbour some plant pests that can have a devastating effect on the environment and the islands in the Caribbean. The benefits of the programme are geared towards protecting agriculture, livelihoods of people who work in agriculture and our food supply.”
The Travellers’ Don’t Pack A Pest Programme includes airing a 60-second video and the placement of signs at strategic areas in major airports and cruise ship ports, along with distribution of other public education materials to the travelling public. These programme elements deliver a simple message: “When you travel, declare agriculture items. Don’t pack a pest.”
Plant Quarantine Officer within the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Thaddeus Peters underscored the importance of prevention when it comes to pest and disease management. “Fruit, vegetable, plants and plant products are a pathway for the transmission for plant pest and disease. When diseases move into new territories it can have devastating impacts on the local agricultural sector, economy and lots of people get affected. It is important to start prevention as early as possible.”
Lenworth Gordon, Marketing and Property Manager at the Grenada Airports Authority (GAA) outlined the benefits of the undertaking. He said, “We are always seeking to raise the awareness of the travelling public about the Do’s and Don’ts, so when passengers transit the airport they abide by the rules and regulations.”
The programme has supported more than 50 ports of entry where signs and/or videos are displayed in the US and the Caribbean, with 9 active programmes in the region.
The Travellers’ Don’t Pack A Pest Programme is designed to raise public awareness about the risks associated with passengers potentially introducing pests and diseases into Grenada, the United States and the Caribbean Region, by carrying agricultural and food items in their luggage when they travel.
Ministry of Agriculture