The Government of Grenada is taking steps to merge two of its flagship projects – the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) and the Climate Smart Agriculture and Rural Enterprise Programme (SAEP) into a single programme called Rural Development.
The merger is intended to bring greater efficiency to the Government’s work aimed at enhancing rural development and improving the lives of persons in rural areas.
The newly initiated joint approach for SAEP is funded primarily by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), through a loan and supplementary loan totaling just under US $6.5 million; a loan of US $3 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and counterpart financing of US $2 million from Government. Contributions will also come from the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation and the beneficiaries of the rural development initiatives.
The BNTF component of the programme is funded through grants from the Caribbean Development Bank, amounting to just over US $ 2.5 million and funding from the Government of Grenada valued at US $590,340.
Meeting with IFAD officials visiting Grenada recently, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell said the merger will give effect to much needed synergies and cost savings.
Dr. Mitchell said, “Government must optimise the use of available resources to maximise the benefits for the population. One of the main areas of focus for this Government is on the vulnerable and we believe IFAD’s work in this regard, complements our philosophy.”
According to the Prime Minister, “Rural development provides more than an opportunity for employment, it is also about empowerment. When you empower persons, you give them ammunition to improve their lives and to become less dependent on you.”
IFAD’s Country Programme Manager, Mr. Francisco Pichon welcomed the collaborative approach adopted by the Government. He said, “IFAD wants to model the support given to other countries based on the programmes in Grenada. We see the planned merger as an opportunity for the Government of Grenada to show leadership in the region, in terms of how these programme are conducted.”
Meetings have already been held with various stakeholders and IFAD is currently finalising administrative activities in preparation for the first disbursement of funds.
Among the initiatives to be undertaken by Rural Development in collaboration with stakeholders are the training of 160 youth in life skills; business support for young entrepreneurs; training of extension officers and fisheries officers and the rehabilitation of five rural roads.