- Grenada has to go back to nature to search for solutions to our development challenges.
- Grenada’s private sector is the ordinary citizen.
- Grenada is “sitting on a gold mine” – its herbal sector.
- Ideas rather than money is what is required to drive growth and poverty reduction in Grenada.
Denis Noel in his presentation, Agriculture for Growth and Poverty Reduction, Non-State Actors Panel Planning Symposium for the Development of an Alternative Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, 23 May 2012.
The members of the Inter-Agency Group of Development Organisation (IAGDO) join the nation in paying tribute to the late Grenadian stalwart, Denis Noel of Nut-Med fame. Noel, a public servant of many years, will be remembered for his contribution to the agricultural sector. A trained agriculturist, he served for many years as Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture. Upon his retirement from the service, he became a significant producer and exporter of Grenada’s local blooms and was a key contributor to Grenada’s award-winning arrangements at the famed Royal Chelsea Flower Shower in the United Kingdom. He pioneered “value-added” in respect of Grenada’s black gold, nutmeg – the famous Nut-Med spray and cream to relieve aches and pains – and packaged many local “bush teas”.
As development agencies, we recall the light he shone on the treasures and possibilities of Grenada’s plants and herbs as a lower cost, safer option to successfully manage and treat some of the health challenges of chronic non-communicable diseases. He was of the opinion that through the application of science to indigenous traditional knowledge, the herbal sector held great potential for the sustainable development of Grenada’s economy.
Noel was always willing to share his knowledge and time and one such occasion was the Planning Symposium of the Non-State Actors Panel in May 2012. The Non-State Actors Panel, under the leadership of its Chairperson, Judy Williams, representing the IAGDO, had taken the bold decision to not only comment but to develop a set of alternative policy recommendations to the Government’s Draft Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy. The Planning Symposium was the first step in that process of developing the NSAP Alternative Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy. Noel was invited to deliver a paper on Agriculture for Growth and Poverty Reduction. The following observations and recommendations of Noel were noted:
- Nature the Source of Solutions: Grenada had to go back to nature to search for solutions to its development challenges.
- Organic Fertilisers: Organic fertilisers were being imported. Organic manure could be made using chick manure and the bush from the debushing programme and pelleted for sale.
- Entrepreneurs and the Citizen: Grenada’s private sector was the ordinary citizen. However, there was a deficit of thinkers in Grenada. Its greatest export was its citizens and Grenada was missing their contribution.
- Potential of the Herbal Sector: Grenada was “sitting on a gold mine”, its herbal sector. The development of this sector had great potential to create employment, bring in foreign exchange and create employment. He noted the following as having great potential for development in Grenada:
- Soursop: Soursop had become very important in the treatment of cancer and had been found to be more effective than chemotherapy.
- Kojo Root: This was a product of immense importance in Jamaica where it was being used to treat diabetes, cancer and pain.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon was known to lower blood sugar and therefore good for the treatment of diabetes.
- Agro-processing: Grenada could not continue to be a producer of agricultural products. Agro-processing was required. Among the ideas he offered were the following:
- Soup Pack: A soup pack that was sold dehydrated. All that would be required would be to add water.
- Commercialisation of Local Recipes: Certain local recipes could be commercialised.
- Coconut: There was great potential for coconut which was found to be important in treating Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Ideas as the Driver of Growth and Poverty Reduction: Noel concluded that ideas rather than money were required to drive growth and poverty reduction in Grenada.
The member agencies of the IAGDO salute the contribution of Denis Noel to nation-building and will continue to be inspired and motivated by his ideas and his example. We extend our condolences to his family, colleagues and friends.
May he rest in peace!
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