Grenada Looks To Digital Agriculture And Innovation For Improved Agriculture Sector 

PR – The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands,  Fisheries and Cooperative, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has  launched two projects to promote digital agriculture and resilient agri-food systems in Grenada. 

The Global Network of Digital Agriculture Innovation Hubs (DAIH) and the Regional E agriculture for the Caribbean, a post COVID–19 mechanism to promote resilient agri-food (REA)  were both launched during an Inception and Workplan Validation Workshop for the projects,  from March 22 -24, 2023.  

The projects aim to support current initiatives implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and  Lands, Fisheries and Cooperatives with FAO’s technical support, and to strengthen the enabling  environment for the adoption of digital agriculture strategies at the national level.  

They will also seek to establish a national digital agriculture innovation hub and programme to  accelerate the development and uptake of digital innovations that support farmers and other  value chain actors, especially youth and women, to become more competitive. Both projects  will use innovation as a tool to drive public-private partnerships. 

The DAIH initiative will support the Ministry in establishing a digital transformation strategy,  starting with an intervention to respond to gaps in digital agriculture. The Innovation hub will  create a space where different agricultural connections can be made between stakeholders in  agriculture, such as linking farmers with extension officers. This may include a marketing app or  a farmer’s registration portal which would strengthen the services offered by the Ministry of  Agriculture and Lands, Fisheries and Cooperatives. 

The focus of the REA in Grenada will be the establishment of a drone mapping and Geographic  Information System (GIS) team in the Ministry of Agriculture. This will allow the Ministry to  utilise better agriculture data collection and planning techniques and acquire updated spatial  information for the farming population.  

The updated information will allow the Ministry of Agriculture to efficiently respond to affected  farming communities when managing systemic multi-hazards risks such as flooding.

Aaron Francois, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture in speaking about the digital  tools, stated that, “there are serious challenges that are facing the agricultural sector and we  know some of them very well. They include low product quality, high input prices, lack of  information on best practices, lack of market information for informed decision making, and a  high incidence of praedial larceny. We have included a component to address praedial larceny  using digital technology”.  

Nikola Trendov, FAO Digital Agriculture, and Innovation Specialist explained that digitalization  in agrifood systems brings several opportunities and , “the new generations are already digital  natives and equipping them with these tools can improve food security and help persons to be  more resilient to the impacts of climate change”.  

Meanwhile, Kenton Fletcher, Focal Point for the Project and Computer Systems Administrator  in the Ministry of Agriculture stated that, “We need to bring in Information and communication  technologies to improve production, to improve marketing and also have innovative ideas on  how we can help farmers do better record keeping, and better management of their farms”.  

Vermaran Extavour, FAO Project Coordinator said that the initiatives would provide Grenada  with a strategy for transforming the sector digitally while piloting the use of emerging solutions  in the agriculture sector for farmers “to access weather data that is relevant for planting and  making more informed decisions”. 

The E-agriculture for the Caribbean, a post COVID–19 mechanism to promote Resilient Agri Food (REA) is a regional project benefitting six countries: the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica,  Grenada, Guyana and St, Kitts, and Nevis.