Grenada is among 4 Caribbean countries that will be scaling up innovative protected cultivation systems to enhance the quality of vegetable products.
These benefits will be derived from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Innovative Protective Cultivation Systems Project which is being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture. The project is timely, as it will help in the revival of the agri-food sector which has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The initiative will support farmers and farmers’ organisations to enhance efficient and sustainable value chains for safe and nutritious vegetable products, while also optimising them for profit and business opportunities. The value chain approach will seek to optimise existing production systems, post-harvest practices, and the marketing of high-value crops, with a strong focus on capacity building to strengthen the knowledge of farmers and extension officers.
Dr Renata Clarke FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for the Caribbean based in Barbados said the organisation is privileged to provide technical and financial support for all priority areas identified by the Government of Grenada.
Addressing the inception workshop on Tuesday, she said, “With innovations such as energy-efficient and climate-smart systems, improved production is expected, which will add to the availability of new crop varieties and growth mediums that are better adapted to support crop production.” Noting some skepticism as it relates to protective agriculture and agricultural systems, due to issues with humidity, temperature, and the cost of cooling, she said extension officers and other ministry staff, along with input suppliers, youth and farmers, will play an integral role in the project. “The role of extension officers and training is critical to make innovation work.”
The Ministry of Agriculture has made considerable efforts to promote the use of protected agriculture among farmers.
Minister for Agriculture, Lands and Forestry Hon. Peter David welcomed the project which will be implemented in 2021, a year designated as one of organisation and production to achieve greater productivity and make the sector more sustainable. This project, he said, “seeks to address one of the areas of focus – strengthening the capacity to produce more food, using protected agriculture technology.” He stated that challenges such as sourcing agricultural inputs, strengthening farmers’ organisations and concerns about the cost and standard of inputs — seeds, chemicals, medium, and fertilisers — are to be addressed to sustain the use of protected agricultural systems.
The Minister foresees that scaling up innovative systems will have numerous benefits for Grenada’s agricultural sector. “The scaling up is timely. This will help to address some of the priority areas identified for urgent attention, such as the focus on exotic crops and improved crop quality, in addition to traditional high value crops planted in protective structures for import substitution,” he remarked.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation funded project will be implemented for 2 years with an allocation of US$500,000 to be shared amongst the 4 beneficiary countries.
The project offers Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Grenada, the possibility to grow crops year-round, with increased productivity and efficiency in the use of soil, water, nutrients and sunlight, as they will support a decreased use in pesticides, increased use of adapted technologies, all contributing to a viable agricultural sector and increased food security.
Ministry of Agriculture… ensuring food and nutrition security for all.
NOW Grenada is not responsible for the opinions, statements or media content presented by contributors. In case of abuse, click here to report.