The Grenada Nutmeg and Spice Festival has been launched with a view to helping the island return to its position as one of the top nutmeg producers in the world.
The Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association (GHTA) and the newly created Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) facilitated the launch at a ceremony held last week Thursday at the Spice Island Beach Resort.
Known internationally as the Isle of Spice, Grenada’s Nutmeg production was set back during the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004 as the island took a battering from the high winds and heavy rainfall.
Grenada is said to be now ranking at number six in the world, a drop from being the world’s second largest nutmeg producer.
The festival, which will run from November 21 to December 8, is expected to give a new insight into the possibilities of a booming Nutmeg industry.
The activities planned include a concert on November 22 at the Spice Basket in Beaulieu, which will showcase some of Grenada’s most talented ladies, to a School-planting day on December 4 among others.
The festival will also include a GHTA Culinary Competition from November 24 to December 5, a Pure Spice It Up Cooking competition on November 30 and a fashion show on the beach on December 6.
Representing Minister of Tourism, Alexander Otway-Noel at the launch was Minister for Culture, Senator Brenda Hood who said that the festival once again underscored the linkage between Agriculture and Tourism and she is happy to see this being manifested.
“I like the idea of planting the nutmeg tree because as you know when you talk Pure Grenada, you talk Nutmeg, when you talk Nutmeg, we talk Pure Grenada. This is one way for our young people to understand that many of the Nutmeg trees that we see today were planted many years ago and for us to keep the industry going we have to continue to plant the nutmeg trees,” she told the ceremony.
Sen. Hood advocated for the Nutmeg and Spice festival to be put on the annual Calendar of events for Grenada and committed herself to this task.
Corporate Communications Officer with GTA, Chrislyn Lashington said the Nutmeg is part of the marketing strategy for the island and that the festival adds to the diversity and flavour of Grenada’s tourism product.
“It showcases agri-tourism and of course culinary arts as well which is something very big to lure persons to our island. It definitely has the capacity to boost our tourism arrival and we already (have) been seeing interest in persons wanting to come to the island just to experience the nutmeg and Spice Festival and we have a lot of these types of niche markets”, she remarked.
“…Agri-tourism is something that’s very big and a lot of persons travel for food and this is something we would like to see the festival grow (to become), (as) we would encourage these aspects of the festival to really expand and give us a platform to market it,” she said.
Plant Scientist, Dr Guido Marcelle noted that the Nutmeg is important to Grenada historically, culturally, socially, economically and environmentally and therefore, it should be seen as more than just a fruit but as an entire industry in itself.
A former head of the Produce Chemistry Laboratory at Tanteen, Dr. Marcelle said that the festival should be used as a tool “to transform certain things, to look at things differently, to recognise and realise how we can involve a larger portion of the population in understanding the significance and importance of nutmeg and the nutmeg industry”.
“…Let us see the festival as a marketing platform to bring together some of these different aspects to nature and to nurture them into some sort of dynamism. We therefore hope the linkages between agriculture and tourism and other ministries would strengthen and grow and also we are opening a window or maybe a door for the youth and the younger people to become more involved in the entire industry,” he added.
According to Dr. Marcelle, the Nutmeg should not just be limited to the farms and for harvesting.
“I have not yet seen a nutmeg emblem (with) …respect to awards we give for schools sports and other ceremonies. We award (with) plaques and things like that (but we can make awards like) a beautiful nutmeg made out of glass and glowing with yellow and red”, he said.
“…There is also the opening for photography fabric, jewellery and other intricate designs which we could involve different people, different talents, different innovative motivations. I think that is how we have to see the festival as drawing from the past, existing in the present and permeating into the future with a certain amount of dynamism, radiating in all areas and aspects,” he added.