As a result of recommendations coming out of a consultancy done in 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture is exploring ways to improve the Cocoa and Nutmeg Industries.
According to Minister of Agriculture, Roland Bhola, the consultants looked at a specific eye in the spice industry and made recommendations on how the country can improve the standard and quality of the exportable items that it has.
Minister Bhola told reporters that based on the recommendations, Cabinet took the decision to set up an implementation plan as it recognises that there were a number of things that needed to be done, if Grenada is to become much more competitive.
He said one of the major issues being looked at is the modernisation of the legislation, which governs the operations of both the Cocoa and Nutmeg industries.
“That one we know and it has been tried before…and as a matter of fact just this morning I met with the legal person that would be looking at the legislation and looking at how we can modernise the legislation, taking into account the recommendations that were made by the consultants”, he remarked.
“Of course, after having dialogue with the major players, meaning the Board of Directors, Management, key Farmers in the industry, we are expecting the gentlemen because from the Ministry’s stand point, we have given a time span of between March and June to look at the legislation and to make the recommendations and the amendments,” he said.
The committee will report back in April, Bhola said, with suggestive areas that should be included within the legislation.
He indicated that the intention is to put Grenada in a more advantageous position.
“As we speak now, the only entity that can export Nutmeg as well as Cocoa in the raw form would be the association. Is that in this 21st century the best method that we can use?
“… We are going to consult with them. Of course the consultants have their own recommendation that they have brought forward but we cannot dwell just on the recommendation. We know that the act that both Cocoa and Nutmeg operate with, are parliamentary legislations, so the government has some say in giving directives as to where we go from here and I know as government what we want to see, that farmers as the players in the industry have more disposable income in their hands.
Bhola added that government would like farmers to get the best possible price for their products on the market.
“Are they getting the very best price now? Do we have the levels and the type of investment in the industry that we really want or the investment that will bring a turn-around in the industry and to ensure that we can achieve more?
“The nutmeg as a major player over the years has been yielding between 17 and 21 million dollars annually in export for our country. Cocoa – a bit less but now we are doing far better because our Cocoa is traded on the world market as fine flavoured Cocoa. We are receiving about 10% more than the regular world prices.
“So we really need as government to really step forward and say to our people, we are ready to take the necessary steps to ensure that one, the industry is well protected but two, it is yielding maximum and it is yielding to its full potential and that the recipients of what it is yielding would be the persons who strive and work their hardest, who are in the field on a daily basis.