ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, CMC – The Grenada government has launched the Farm Labour Subsidy Program aimed at encouraging people to get back into redeveloping the nutmeg and cocoa industries.
“We still have a significant amount of acreage that is still left unclear. After Hurricane Ivan, persons have not gone back to the land, and when you analyze it, we may be tempted to say that these people are lazy and probably they don’t care,” said Agriculture Minister, Roland Bhola.
He said despite the tough economic situation, the Keith Mitchell administration is assisting farmers and that the program will provide employment for at least 2,000 people across the island.
“We also have to understand that, what Hurricane Ivan did was not just throw down our trees and our houses down, but it affected the psyche of our people. Some of our farmers have not yet recovered from that blow, so we have to encourage them by clearing some lands and planting new crops”.
Hurricane Ivan hit the island in 2004.
Nutmeg continues to be a strategic crop for Grenada, and despite a short decline in the output, the authorities said the EC$22 million (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) in income last year represented a significant increase over previous years.
“As you know 80 percent of our nutmeg was affected after the passage of Hurricane Ivan, so there is a dire need on our part to ensure that we continue to resuscitate the nutmeg sub sector”, said Chief Agriculture Officer Daniel Lewis.
He said last year the cocoa industry surpassed the pre-Ivan level in terms of production.