Minister for Agriculture, Lands and Forestry, Hon. Peter David, has urged the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association (GCNA) to use the lessons learned from Covid-19, as a means of returning to pre-Covid-19 production and sale levels.
The GCNA recorded in excess of EC$8.6 million, which was generated from the sale of 1,042,043 pounds of nutmegs last year and, according to the organisation, $6.8 million was paid out to nutmeg farmers.
Delivering remarks at the Annual General Meeting in St Andrew on Thursday, 11 February the agriculture minister told farmers that Covid-19 is a perfect opportunity that should not be wasted. “Covid-19 is both a challenge and an opportunity. It is a challenge from the standpoint of both fall in market demand for agricultural products and loss of government revenue. But it is an opportunity, in that all of Grenada has had an awakening about the importance of the agriculture sector. This is a golden opportunity that we must not squander,” Minister David advised.
Chairman of the GCNA, Leo Cato, who pointed out that the GCNA will continue to operate under the new normal presented by Covid-19 said, “The GCNA will continue to buy nutmeg on a scheduled basis, going forward. The number of days will increase, as production levels increase.”
Understanding the challenges experienced over the past year, and having engaged hundreds of farmers since his appointment to the post of Agriculture Minister, Hon. Peter David spelled out some of the initiatives that will benefit Grenada’s black gold industry. He said, “We can immediately raise nutmeg production by 20% by just clearing the fields that are now inaccessible. There is also the $46.8 million contract for the construction of 11 roads and 2 bridges, creating access to hundreds of acres of agricultural lands. In addition to this, the Climate Smart and Rural Enterprise Development Project (SAEP) is moving full speed ahead with the planned construction of roads.”
Hon. Peter David has also begun talks with contractors, exploring the possibility of their partnership, to assist on a voluntary basis with the clearing of some roads in areas where they may have assets involved in other work. The responses, so far, according to him, have been favourable.
The Agriculture Minister is pleased that the GCNA and the GCA received the grant of EC$1million from the Government of Grenada in December 2020 and disclosed that discussions are continuing on the finalisation of a loan component for the organisation, which will be concluded soon.