ST GEORGE’S, Grenada — The Grenada government is placing particular emphasis on the rehabilitation and replanting of nutmeg and cocoa under its farm labour subsidy programme.
The programme was officially launched in St David on Tuesday and will provide employment for between 1,500 and 2,000 people working across the country.
Labourers under this programme will give approximately ten days service to farms in every parish.
Agriculture Minister Roland Bhola said, despite the tough economic times, government is still seeking to assist farmers however possible. He urged them to make maximum use of the opportunity.
“We still have a significant amount of acreage that is still left unclear. After Hurricane Ivan, persons have not gone back to the land, and when you analyze it, we may be tempted to say that these people are lazy and probably they don’t care,” the agriculture minister said.
“We also have to understand that, what Hurricane Ivan did was not just throw down our trees and our houses down, but it affected the psyche of our people.
“Some of our farmers have not yet recovered from that blow, so we have to encourage them by clearing some lands and planting new crops,” he added.
Chief Agriculture Officer Daniel Lewis, in outlining some of the crops that will be targeted, said 50 acres in rehabilitation of nutmegs and 30 acres in replanting, 25 acres of avocadoes and 30 acres of mangoes.
He said the intention of planting more mangoes is to assist MNIB in enhancing its exports to the Canada market.
Nutmeg continues to be a strategic crop for Grenada and, despite a short decline in the output of nutmeg, the GCNA last year saw a significant increase in the income generated from nutmeg at over $22 million.
In addition, 2012 had the highest amount of money paid for nutmeg on the international market.
“As you know 80% of our nutmeg was affected after the passage of Hurricane Ivan, so there is a dire need on our part to ensure that we continue to resuscitate the nutmeg sub sector,” the chief agriculture officer said.
Lewis described cocoa as a beacon of hope for the agriculture sector. He said last year the cocoa industry surpassed the pre-Ivan level in terms of production.
He said they have prioritised crops with potential for development, which includes 50 acres of soursop, as well as the revitalisation of the coconut industry.