Grenada Intensifies Awareness On Risks Associated With Travelling With Agricultural Items

PR – The Ministry of Agriculture is increasing  efforts to safeguard the agriculture industry from pests and diseases which can affect food supply,  natural resources, and ecosystems. 

This was done through the recent launch of the ‘Don’t Pack a Pest Programme’ at the conference  room of the Grenada Airports Authority. It is being done in partnership with the U.S. Department  of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the  Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), the California Department  of Food and Agriculture, Customs, the Grenada Ports Authority, Grenada Airports Authority and  other stakeholders. 

Understanding the reality and consequences of packing pests, Heather Curlett, Programme  Coordinator of the Don’t Pack a Pest-USDA, APHI, explained; “The travellers will be able to  understand the key role they play in the introduction and spread of pests. This is a unique  opportunity to increase the awareness of intraregional and international travellers about the risks  they take in packing and carrying agricultural items.” 

This programme has supported more than 50 ports of entry where signs and/ or videos are  displayed in the US and the Caribbean; “The pest can move into the US and around the region,  and it can have adverse effects; as it is estimated that 10-20 % of all global crops are destroyed by  insects. It is our hope that the awareness can help to control the potential increases” explained  Peter Kolshorn, Principal Officer (Ag.) at the US Embassy in Grenada. 

Being the 10th country to successfully launch this programme, and understanding the impact of  pests in Grenada, Minister of State with responsibility for Agriculture and Lands, Fisheries and  Cooperatives, Senator the Hon. Adrian Thomas, who recalled serving in the Public Service at the  Pest Management Unit, at a time when the Agriculture industry was dealing with African Locusts,  speaks highly of this initiative. 

He said it will assist Plant Quarantine and Pest Management Officers to safeguard the sector, as  they will be able to close the gap on raising awareness on how there can be greater control of the  number of pests and diseases transferred at the points of entry. “In the past, fruits have slipped  through the gaps in what can sometimes be a porous system; when that happens it sometimes  destroys our agricultural crops and livestock. The Ministry hopes that this can assist in  safeguarding Grenada, the Caribbean and beyond. We are all aware that our food security will be  challenged if one or more of these pests reach our shore.” 

The programme will be established at ports of entry, promotional items bearing the simple  message, “Don’t Pack a Pest,” in their baggage, encouraging travellers to declare agricultural items  when traveling to the US and other Caribbean Territories.