by Linda Straker
- Exporting crops to international and regional markets will provide a boost for farmers
- Benefits from MNIB touch many sectors
- Government should support MNIB to meet its mandate to agriculture sector
The Agriculture and Fishing representative in the Senate believes that the decision made by the management of the Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB) to resume exporting crops such as soursop, mango and papaya to international and regional markets will provide a boost for farmers.
“This is good news, real good news for the farmers,” said Roderick St Clair, who was elected to represent the farmers in the Upper House following the resignation of Dunstan Campbell in September 2020. Campbell resigned due to ill health.
“Finding markets for Grenada’s produce is in accordance with the original intention behind establishing the MNIB, and once markets can be found, especially sustainable markets, then the MNIB will be successful, farmers will be successful, communities will be successful, and the economy will be successful,” said St Clair who previously worked at MNIB.
He advises that Government should support the MNIB because of the many challenges facing each country in the region due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the volcano eruption in St Vincent and other external factors.
“I want to urge the Government to give all the support necessary to the MNIB because the wider benefit from this institution touches many sectors, yes we see the farmers upfront but when the spending power is analysed, you will see how each sector depends on each other for support to be successful. Government, therefore, needs to take the necessary action, financial and otherwise, for MNIB to meet its mandate to the agriculture sector,” he said.
St Clair who currently holds the position of General Manager of the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association (GCNA), was pleased to learn that the MNIB has been having many inquiries and requests for fresh in recent days fruits, crops and vegetables from regional and international buyers.
“This is an opportunity that should not be missed. I want farmers to see that there can be opportunities in challenging times, but I also want to urge that enough crops should be produced to meet the local demands so that if there is an unfortunate situation that will result in suspending overseas buyers, the local market can easily become the alternative market,” he said.
“The point here: there is a need to produce and at the same time our people need to develop and or change our eating behaviour,” he suggested.