The Packing House of the state-owned Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB) is in line for a one million US dollar upgrade to allow for international exports of fruits.
Speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing at the Ministerial Complex, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Clarice Modeste-Curwen said the planned upgrade will be in keeping with the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Standards.
She said that MNIB in order to ensure that it can export produce to other countries, has engaged the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to look at standards.
She announced that the state body will contribute US$100,000 to the upgrade, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union will provide $200,000 to MNIB, as well as an additional $100,000 as a reward for their compliance.
Additionally, a concessionary loan will be provided by CDB while the Grenada government will have to make a contribution of US$100,000.
Minister Modeste-Curwen told reporters that emphasis will be placed on bringing up MNIB to HACCP standards “to analyse the risk, the hazard to the food, primarily the health of the persons who are going to consume but also the quality, how they look, their handling,”.
According to the senior government Minister, the major upgrade that has to be done is to the Pack House where MNIB packs the fruits for exports or for local consumption.
“…There have been some recommendations for physical infrastructural changes, improvements, sanitation, where the sink should be placed for the washing of hands and so on – they have done some more short term training of the staff of MNIB and also the suppliers of MNIB and also key persons from the Ministry.
“They also looked at how they can provide technical assistance for the development of (a) fresh Sour Sop export industry. The Sour Sop industry is growing rapidly- there is a high demand for it oversees because the bigger the demand, the greater the competition will be to sell those supplies and so we have to ensure that we stand behind the produce that we sell in terms of the quality.
The female government minister stated that as part of the upgrade there are plans to teach farmers how to sort and to grade their produce before taking them to MNIB so they will know what will not be acceptable.
“…So instead of sending it (the produce) to Marketing Board for it to be rejected, farmers will be taught how to assess so that by and large, the fruits that they send would be acceptable,” she said.