A call for collaboration within the agriculture sector was answered this week, as scores of farmers and industry stakeholders turned out at the Ministry of Agriculture’s National Farmers Symposium.
The one-day event was held in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and considered a range of topics including, Production and Productivity, Youth in Agriculture, Marketing, Financing and Building Resilience in the sector.
In bringing together agricultural, business, and financial minds, the intention was to realign efforts geared towards reshaping the agricultural sector.
With the desire to create a structured policy-based approach to build and transform the sector, farmers and stakeholders shared their views on the resources necessary to improve and sustain the economic development of the sector, and enhance its contribution to the economy.
Minister for Agriculture Hon. Peter David said the outputs from the meeting will be documented and subsequently implemented. “We will get the written report from each of the groups, and we will put this into a single document. We will come up with an implementation plan because if there is any cynicism around, it is cynicism about implementation.”
Minister David continued, “We need to make sure that we implement the ideas. We already know all of the problems; today, we have come up with some of the solutions. I urge all of us to see this as a process.”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Elvis Morain underscored the importance of the topics highlighted during the symposium, as attempts are made to strategically shape the future of the sector. “The issue of financing – because it is private sector-driven, it becomes a big issue; marketing must go beyond the catchphrase “eat what we grow and grow what we eat”; there must be proper storage and distribution; attractive incentives; then there is the issue of access to land; as well as regional and international partners,” he said.
Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ugo Blanco, is optimistic about the potential to transform the sector. He said, “Transforming the agricultural sector is both necessary and feasible; we are in the right position to do it, we can do it. Undoubtedly, people must be at the core of this transformation to build a climate-resilient agricultural system and this initiative is an example of the leadership and commitment of the Government and the citizens of Grenada.”
Farmers’ Representative in the Senate Roderick St Clair supports a transformative agenda for the agricultural sector. “Transformative policies, and transformative implementation; I applaud that angle because it is more than going to the farm and doing the work; there are a lot of structures that are missing but I like where you are going, and this is good.”
By the end of the symposium, there was increased awareness of the role of the Ministry in developing the sector, and agreements on key elements of an action plan and roadmap to promote and transform agriculture.
The symposium was held under the theme “Year of Organisation and Production.”
Ministry of Agriculture…ensuring food and nutrition security for all