PR – The Ministries of Agriculture and Finance facilitated a budget consultative session on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, to garner pertinent recommendations for inclusion in the 2023 national budget.
The session, which targeted agriculture and fisheries stakeholders, was held at the Deluxe Cinema, Grenville, St. Andrew, and was attended by the Substantive Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Lennox Andrews, who is also Grenada’s Minister for Economic Development.
Participants were divided into four groups to get the best of every subsector. Farmers, beekeepers, and floriculturists formed one group, poultry livestock and butchers formed the second group, fisherfolks, long liners, and sea moss producers were placed in the third group, and agro-processors comprised the fourth.
The objective was to gather transformative ideas that can be incorporated into the budget to address pressing issues affecting different sectors.
Minister Lennox Andrews underscored the importance of formulating ideas to increase the Agriculture industry’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said agriculture is a risky investment, and the plans developed must ensure that its contribution to the GDP will be increased.
He said, “While you think about the needs and constraints affecting growth and development in the agriculture sector, we also want you to think of areas in which government can make money. It is important to have the money to put back into the economy.”
Agriculture and Fisheries Representative in the Senate, Roderick St. Clair spoke to the importance of the consultation, not only to agriculture and fisheries but the nation as a whole. He said with food security being a priority, the ideas garnered from the session well help in finding ways to combat high food prices.
Recommendations for the 2023 budget included compensation for victims of praedial larceny, training in critical farming techniques, a designated desk or office for agro processors, quality assurance for the fishing sector, and measures to increase consumption of local livestock products.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Aaron Francois, said while not every suggestion may be taken on board, government is committed to making a difference in the agricultural and fisheries sector through collaboration.
He said, “A lot of the issues are not new; from government’s side, we have our role to play in helping with the enabling environment and the support in building the productive sector, but you too as entrepreneurs, as custodians of the resources, you have your responsibility also. So, let’s work together.”