Grenada is soon to be the 13th country to benefit from Phase two (II) of a Regional Coconut Development Project with the aim of strengthening the alliances towards increasing productivity and profitability of the crop. The partnership, which is a collaboration among the European Union (EU), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), with support from the CARIFORUM Secretariat and the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands – is being implemented with the Alliances for Action (A4A) approach – a model that engages smallholder farmers and micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) for attracting interest and investment in the coconut industry.
Since the 2004 & 2005 passage of Hurricanes Ivan and Emily respectively attempts have been made to revitalize the coconut industry. As the country forges ahead with a focus on the industry, a special stakeholders’ consultation was held on Friday 1st November. The International Trade Center has been working on the advancement of the coconut sector in twelve (12) countries for the last four years, in collaboration with CARDI.
According to Mr. Hernan Manson, representative of the International Trade Center (ITC), “We are very happy that Grenada is part of the second (II) phase. We are partnering with farmers and farmer associations, with processors and SME’s who are part of the sector or coconuts and associated crops and with the Government of Grenada. This is in order to provide support to this very important sector, promoting agriculture as a business, whether it is on the processing side or for farmers.”
There is an estimated 25% of projected growth in sales for coconut water alone in the next 5 years. Coconut and coconut products are becoming a staple in the food and beverage markets, health and skincare markets. Permanent secretary within the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands Mr. Elvis Morain, implored on the participants to commit themselves to use the lessons from the engagement to contribute to the continuous initiatives to propel the sector.
“Whatever the lessons we get out of the second phase, we must give a commitment to continue with the coconut Industry. The Ministry of Agriculture is pleased to be associated with this; we are happy to partner with other agencies to help to improve what we do. We must, however sustain the activities we need to do, in the area of value added; as we see that a lot of things are being materialized as it relates to value addition. “
This project covers the Samoa Pathway priority areas which take into account Sustained & Sustainable, Inclusive and Equitable Economic Growth with Decent Work for All; Climate Change; Disaster Risk Reduction; Water and sanitation; Food security and nutrition; Waste Management .
The A4A approach is clustered around five areas: Understanding, Convening, Transforming, Investing and Impacting. This project according to Director of Research, Development and Biotechnology at the Ministry of Agriculture Dr. Malachy Dottin will be able to contribute to the economic development and improvement of livelihoods in Grenada and the wider Caribbean.
“When we embrace the coconut industry we have to embrace it in reducing poverty, reducing hunger and improving health and wellness. As we move on with deliberations along this direction there are three important co-elements that we must pay attention to: environmental protection, social inclusion and economic contributions.
This projects supports the main sustainable development goals such as:
Goal Number 2: Attaining Zero Hunger
Goal Number 8: Decent work and economic growth,
Goal Number 9: industry innovation and infrastructure and
Goal Number 16 of attaining peace and Justice Strong institutions.
Dr.Gregory Robyn Manager for Science, Technology and Innovation at CARDI said, “This project shows how Grenada can benefit from good Agricultural practices, selection of mother plants of elite coconut types. We have the techniques and technology to address diseases of lethal yellowing and Redwing diseases so Grenada can benefit. Grenada will be able to assess the lesson learnt from implementation of similar projects such as Jamaica. We hope to get out of this forum a small stakeholders to guide the industry forward.”
Phase two (2) of this project aims to replicate the successful partnerships model across the Caribbean region and scale up impact through the alliances for action model by adopting an inclusive and participatory approach. It would also focus on building stronger and inclusive value chains in the Caribbean Coconut industry, improving market linkages as it aims to sustain a commercially driven industry in the region as a major contributor to coconut trade.