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A farmer removes cocoa beans from their pods on the Belmont Estate in Grenada (Photo: Belmont Estate)

Grenada Gov’t increases allocation to 2020 Farm Labour Subsidy Programme

A farmer removes cocoa beans from their pods on the Belmont Estate in Grenada (Photo: Belmont Estate)

As the Government of Grenada moves to bolster the Eastern Caribbean country’s food security in light of the coronavirus pandemic, it has, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, increased its allocation to the 2020 Farm Labour Subsidy Programme to EC$1.3 million.

The governemnt programme will focus on the rehabilitation of tree crops such as cocoa, nutmeg, soursop, and coconut; and the establishment of roots and staple crops like vegetables, roots and tubers. (Photo: Caricom)

The increase is EC$1 million more than the EC$300,000 the Government invested in the programme last year. Furthermore, the programme now forms part of the Grenada Government’s Economic Stimulus Package for the agriculture sector and aims to minimise the impact of the virus on the food and nutrition sector.

During a recent ceremony at the Dunfermline Estate, in St Andrew, Minister of Agriculture and Lands Yolande Bain-Horsford, who declared the programme open, noted, “We have [more than] doubled the financial allocation to help farmers to increase production on their farms. This is a massive investment that will help to move the sector forward.”

Grenada’s Minister of Agriculture and Lands Yolande Bain-Horsford (left) during a recent tour of Dunfermline Estate in St Andrew, Grenada, with Senior Agricultural Officer Lauren St Louis. (Photo: Facebook @Ministry of Agriculture & Lands Grenada)

“Investment into our future… food security”

With this increase in the allocation, the Government has set its sight on the rehabilitation of tree crops, (cocoa, nutmeg, soursop, and coconut) and the establishment of roots and staple crops (vegetable, roots and tubers).

In fact, Senior Agricultural Officer Lauren St Louis reaffirmed that such an investment emphasises the ministry’s focus on food security. To this end, he implored “our farmers and extension officers, and the people who will be contracted to do the labour, all remember this investment.

“It is our investment into our future, into our food security,” she reiterated.

Senior Agricultural Officer Lauren St Louis (Photo: Facebook @Ministry of Agriculture & Lands Grenada)

So far, the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has proposed the use of 200 acres for each component of the programme: 70 acres of government land and 130 acres on farmers’ holdings.

The application for the Farm Labour Subsidy programme opened in May of 2020 to farmers and landowners. The ministry has, to date, received more than 700 applications and assessed farms which met the requirements for support.