The Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Forestry (MOAL), recently funded and facilitated a successful 3-day theoretical and practical training workshop for a cohort of 45 agriculture-related industry personnel on the topic Postharvest Handling Quality Requirement for Root and Tuber Crops.
This workshop took place on 16, 17 and 20 December 2021 at the National Stadium VIP Lounge, with a practical component of a farm and Produce Pack House Facility visit.
According to the Project Coordinator Raquel Peters, the main objectives of the training were to enable more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems in Grenada, to build and enhance the capacity of youths and other key stakeholders on Root and Tuber Crops: Postharvest Handling and Quality Requirements for Local Markets and to promote a youth-led sustainable territorial development towards increased youth employment in Grenada.
In high spirits with words of thanks and gratification, Afia Joseph, CEO MNIB, welcomed the participants and encouraged them to take full advantage of the training opportunity offered by the MNIB stating that, their success is MNIB’s success. Expressions of appreciation were made to the FAO for agreeing to fund the training workshop and to the Ministry of Agriculture for their support in the process.
The farmers were also introduced to various topics inclusive of Good Production Practices, Post-Harvest Handling of Root Crops and Storage, Market Requirement and Quality of Root Crops, Value Addition, Food safety, My Farm is My Business and Views of an Agro-Processor. This gave a holistic approach to the workshop and equipped the farmers with elements of the business and economics of farming.
According to Chief Agricultural Officer within the Ministry of Agriculture Trevor Thompson, this project is one that took a lot of effort and vision, and the farmers of the training have a great opportunity to make full use of the content in order to be the best farmer that they can be. It is a great investment in human capital and the farmers themselves must make sure that the content materialised into dollars and cents.
“Our intention is to upscale the land bank programme to include private landowners who have idle or abandoned lands.” These were the words of Joseph Noel as he targeted the land bank recipient trainees. He emphasised that this programme would enable the participants to access lands for the cultivation of yams, tannia, dasheen, eddoes and sweet potatoes for the sustainable production and export of these crops.”
Senator for Agriculture and Fisheries Roderick St Clair, stated that root crops are excellent sources because they enable food security, are less susceptible to natural disasters, are excellent sources for energy and can be stored for long periods of time. Important to note, are the many opportunities that exist for value addition, for example potato chips and purees.
Participant at the workshop, Curtis Mitchell, gave his testimony at the conclusion of the training, emphasising the value of the content covered and how it would allow him to be more competent in his job as an extension officer, attached to the MNIB.
At the end of the training, all participants and facilitators received a certificate of participation and appreciation respectively, accredited by the FAO, MNIB and the MOAL.
The MNIB assured participants that their farm contract programme would help to ensure markets for their crops and gave participants the opportunity to sign up for the farm contract programme. MNIB encourages farmers across the island to use proper post-harvest handling techniques to ensure crop quality and minimise loss.