Grenada positioning to provide fresh produce for southern Caribbean
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada – Grenada says it is in the first stage of implementing a strategy that will result in the island becoming a major supplier of fresh produce in the southern Caribbean as a result of the inability of St Vincent to meet its obligations as a result of the erupting La Soufriere volcano.
Agriculture Minister Peter David said that the volcano, which has been erupting explosively since April 9, will create a food shortage in the region and Grenada is placing itself in a position to reduce the impact of the fallout.
“It is going to have a long-term serious impact on St Vincent and I dear say food availability in the southern Caribbean. Food security is an important issue for us, and St Vincent has been in a sense a major producer/supplier of many agricultural products including livestock,” David told reporters following the weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
“We run the risk of increased prices, we run the risk of shortages and we run the risk of having a negative impact on the food situation in the southern Caribbean,” David said, admitting that the disruption in crop production and pending food shortages had been a factor prior to the eruption of the volcano.
“The situation was already there before the volcano, our food import bill is very high” David said, noting that the plan by the government here is to increase food production by investing and reviving state-owned estates, while at the same encouraging farmers in the private sector to increase production.
“We have already looked at several government estates to determine what we are going to produce but we have to first determine what the market demand because we have to produce what the market wants,” said David, reminding reporters that St Vincent and the Grenadines is well known for its mass production of roots crops which as tannia, sweet potatoes and dasheen.
The Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB) recently disclosed that Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago made inquiries about the acquisition of fresh produce given the eruption of the volcano. (CMC)