PR – Members of the farming and fishing communities in Grenada are being commended for their valuable contribution to the recent sector-specific consultation hosted by the Government to discuss operations in a COVID-19 environment.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Forestry, along with the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, Fisheries and Cooperatives, and Farmers and Fisheries Representative in the Senate, Roderick St. Clair expressed gratitude to participants of the event.
In addition to presentations from these Ministries, the forum had contributions from the Royal Grenada Police Force, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Health as they conferred on the best ways to rally through the challenges of the pandemic.
Farmers welcomed the opportunity to discuss the impact, implications, and requirements needed for business continuity, under Grenada’s current COVID-19 construct. Some of the questions, requests, and problems highlighted during the session were the need for more flexibility with restrictions, as it relates to the movement of farmers, the need for support with marketing, agri-inputs, concessions, investments, and challenges with exporting fresh produce.
Prime Minister, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, who also participated in the forum, welcomed the opportunity to engage with stakeholders and get their suggestions on possible improvements.
“We understand that Government does not have a monopoly over solutions, as the stakeholders who are on the ground, facing the consequences of what is happening, will sometimes know a lot more than we do,” he explained.
Instrumental in advocating the need for such a forum, was Senator Roderick St. Clair, who spoke of the importance of the dialogue. He said, “It was important to give them an opportunity to let their concerns be heard. I think we are well-placed to continue the
dialogue and deal with the issues along with creating and implementing a policy that will benefit them.”
Minister for Fisheries, and Cooperatives, Hon. Yolande Bain Horsford, shared with participants that “The great ideas generated will help us to move forward. We will continue the conversation with our stakeholders and work with them.”
Joining his colleagues to thank stakeholders for their participation, Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Peter David, appealed for the strengthening of farmers’ organisations. He said, “We need to ensure that the farmers involved in poultry, pigs, large and small ruminants, vegetables, and soursop – all of them – are better organised and strengthened. If we do that, we will be able to get what we need easier and faster and ensure that the voices of farmers are heard.”
The information gleaned from this virtual forum, will be taken into consideration in the upcoming budget preparations and will be used by the Ministries to draft a policy that can guide the way forward for both the farming and fishing Sectors during this COVID-19 period.