PR – Cocoa farmers in Grenada will benefit from a $1 million grant provided by the Government.
At its meeting on Monday, the Cabinet also approved a loan of $1 million to the Grenada Cocoa Association, for the purpose of providing price support payments to farmers, similar to what was approved a few weeks ago for nutmeg farmers.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, said the grant and loan support will help to buffer the loss of revenue caused by the association’s inability to export cocoa and chocolate.
Faced with an inventory build-up from the lack of export, the association is still required to buy cocoa from farmers, putting a further strain on its financial viability.
Dr. Mitchell said, “Cabinet has specifically agreed that the funds should go primarily towards maintaining current price levels for farmers to ensure that they are not further disenfranchised by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Government, we are deeply concerned about the well-being of our farmers and we feel morally obligated to help safeguard their livelihood. The pandemic has significantly impacted the country’s revenue but Government remains committed to finding ways to bring relief to our people.”
Both the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association and the Grenada Cocoa Association have been provided with specific terms and conditions for the grant and loan support.
Dr. Mitchell said one specific requirement is that the associations should merge operations to create greater efficiencies in the overall management structure.
He said, “Optimising efficiency and profitability is no longer optional; the time has come for a serious and demonstrated commitment to serving the best interest of farmers. Government has advocated this position for many years as it would significantly reduce the costs associated with managing the commodity boards. Less expenditure means more cash available for the benefit of farmers.”
Government will await feedback from both the GCNA and the GCA on its proposals.