An agricultural group formed by women has been given easy access to sell their produce to a local supermarket.
The Foodland chain of supermarkets has bought into the Grenada Network of Rural Women Producers (GRENROP) slogan of “Buy Local, Eat ocal, Stay Healthy” by creating a health and wellness centre at its outlets.
The partnership was launched last week Thursday at the Foodland car park on the Kirani James Boulevard.
GRENROP’s President, Theresa Marryshow gave her organisation’s commitment to provide Foodland with a high standard of quality in the joint marketing initiative which she described as a milestone for them.
Marryshow in giving details about how the partnership came into being, said that in July 2012, a discussion was held between herself and Foodland’s General Manager Marc Chow-Chung.
The GRENROP President said they are committed to strengthening the relationship that has been developed with the chain of supermarkets.
The organisation is engaged in producing local jams and jellies, confectionaries, cocoa balls, wines, and farine, and also supply fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs and poultry on the local market.
Director of George F. Huggins and Company (Grenada) Limited which is the parent company for the supermarkets, Anya Chow-Chung indicated that through the joint partnership, both parties are bringing to the customers more of what the local farmers have to offer.
“It is our company’s privilege to be able to provide this avenue and market showcasing and retailing the products and delicacies,” she said.
According to Chow-Chung, Huggins feels very privileged as a local private sector entity to be a contributor to the collective efforts of those who are involved in the agriculture industry by helping to make a difference in the lives of farmers.
Chow-Chung who is also the Executive Assistance to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) George Menezes said that since she began working with the company she can recall hearing the CEO who, incidentally is her father being a very strong advocate for buying local produce.
She stated that Huggins which is a household name on the island has played a pivotal role for many years in many facets of the communities in which it operates.
She spoke of the company’s foundation having been in agriculture and at the outset traded in the country’s staple products such as cocoa, nutmeg and mace.
Chow-Chung said Huggins is convinced that the agriculture sector is key to the country’s future and viability in light of the current world economic crisis.
Agriculture Minister Roland Bhola who was on hand to witness the ceremony underscored the importance of agriculture to the local economy.
Bhola indicated that agriculture provides the country with a host of securities that include food, nutrition, and employment.
He believes that unless initiatives like the GRENROP and Foodland cooperation are undertaken many of the people living in rural Grenada would have to relocate to the urban parts of the country in search of jobs and sustenance for their family.
The Agriculture Minister spoke of how collaborative efforts can become beneficial.
“What we see is a demonstration of how working together in unison can bring to fruition what most of us want to see happening in this country,” he said.
Bhola challenged the rest of the population to support what is produced locally.
He feared that until and unless the people support the local producers by purchasing and using their items, the initiative between GRENROP and Foodland will not get very far.
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) played an integral part in the work of GRENROP’s since 2004.
Local Coordinator, Cosmos Joseph who attended the launch of the health and wellness center, spoke of being satisfied with the progress the group has made over the years.
Joseph believes that the partnership the women’s group has developed with the chain of supermarkets is a true demonstration of what can be achieved through genuine partnership between a well organised group of rural women and a private sector business entity with an interest in the sustainable development of the economy in which it operates.
“We at IICA applaud this initiative through which greater volume of agro-products are marketed,” he said.
However, Joseph admonished GRENROP to live up to their slogan.
He said that in order to guarantee the sustainability of the partnership, the organisation must ensure that their products are of the highest quality and are free from pesticide residues.
“They must develop the habit of keeping proper production records in order to be able to negotiate for a fair, competitive price for commodities supplied to Foodland,” he said.
GRENROP has a membership of 62 women whose age range between 21 and 79 years.
The women’s group is affiliated to the Caribbean Network of Rural Women.