by Tricia Simon
Grenada, the Spice Island as we are aptly known is unique and we as Grenadians are proud of our historical and cultural heritage.
This history bathed in the blood, sweat and anguish of our forefathers has allowed us to inherit immense legacies. Thus, we as a generation have no choice but to continue to build on that legacy of agriculture and continue to create intergenerational wealth. Recently, due to Covid-19, we see the Ministry of Agriculture and Grenada Tourism Authority placing significant emphasis on the agricultural sector with the goal of boosting capacity for farmers and agro-producers.
Grenada cocoa, nutmeg and spices left to us by our forefathers need to be cherished, respected and grown aplenty. Compared to other countries, we may lack the capacity for quantity but produce superior quality. Chocolate produced in Grenada is done using a fair-trade methodology from bean to bar. Recently, major players in the chocolate industry such as Mars, Nestlé and Hershey were accused of using child slave labour in the Ivory Coast.
What is Geographical Indication (GI)? The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) defines Geographical Indication (GI) as “a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.”
The London Academy of Chocolate Awards has paid homage to the superb characteristics of our Grenada chocolate produced by companies such as the Grenada Chocolate Company. We are now familiar with chocolate companies such as Jouvay Chocolate and Tri-Island Chocolate to satisfy our chocolate fix. We celebrate our cocoa and chocolate with the Grenada Chocolate Festival, an annual event in which all things cocoa and chocolate abound.
Aaron Sylvester, a chocolatier who is the owner and manager of Tri-Island Chocolate stated, “Individuals who are familiar with superb, fine flavoured chocolate quality are attracted to the fact that a specific chocolate originates from Grenada. Thus, a Geographical Indication designation would be a bonus for the sale of our Grenadian cocoa and chocolate products.”
Take a stroll through Central Depradine Street in Gouyave and the smell of nutmeg wafts through the air from the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station. If I close my eyes, I can remember the sweet, pungent aroma of nutmeg and mace. Nutmeg, coined as Grenada’s “Black Gold” is said to be on the cusp of resurgence, according to Forbes Magazine.
Grenada is a lush, clean, volcanic sun-kissed island where estates such as Mt Parnassus Plantation grows cocoa, nutmeg and spices using the traditional method all intermingled together. Furthermore, estates such as Mt Parnassus Plantation and other growers, grow cocoa, nutmeg and spices using no artificial fertiliser, essentially making them organically grown. This speaks to the homage paid to the earth and the preference for quality over quantity.
Countries such as the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Scotland and the United States ferociously guard and benefit enormously from the financial gains associated with Geographical Indication. In regards to the benefits of Geographical Indication (GI) the International Trade Centre stated, “Geographical indications (GIs) increase revenues for local producers and satisfy the needs of more conscious and demanding customers.” A Geographical Indication (GI) designation typically speaks to a superb quality and a specialness one can only attain from that specific product.
Familiar names such as Scotch Whiskey, Stilton cheese, Prosciutto di Parma and Champagne are all examples of Geographical Indication (GI). When one thinks whiskey, nothing comes to mind but “Scotch Whiskey.” The reality is that our farmers should benefit from the hard work and effort they put into planting and caring for their cocoa, nutmeg and spices. A Geographical Indication (GI) designation should also result in increased profits from their products as a way to attract our youths into farming. An increase in the agro-processing of our cocoa, nutmeg and spices would also create sustainable employment and development.
Senator for Agriculture and Fisheries and farmer Roderick St Clair stated that a Geographical Indication (GI) regime would be very advantageous to the farmers in Grenada. He relayed that such a regime is anticipated to bring in additional income from raw materials as well as value addition. He also stated that Grenada has the technical capacity to implement a Geographical Indication (GI) regime and the farmers await the draft GI legislation to be enacted to bring the benefits to fruition for sustainable employment and development.
It is amazing that as an indicator of development a significant portion of the population now sport a lush, green lawn; all part of the “dream life”. The reality is that we unfortunately cannot eat grass as we are neither cow nor goat. Back in the day, our forebearers knew nothing about grass; each yard was planted with a “kitchen garden” for sustainable living, with our youths carrying a fork — now it is a weed eater. What value is added to our economy with a green lawn when we need to purchase the machine, oil and gas? With climate change upon us, the more trees we plant results in climate resilience, less drought and a decrease in carbon dioxide. Can you imagine our production of cocoa if as opposed to having a yard planted with grass we planted a cocoa, nutmeg or spice tree? As meh gran mudder used to say, “one one cocoa full basket.”
Tricia Simon is an Attorney-at-Law called to the bar in the State of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and the Province of Ontario, Canada.
NOW Grenada is not responsible for the opinions, statements or media content presented by contributors. In case of abuse, click here to report.