AGRICULTURE IN GRENADA: WHAT DOES IT MEAN

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Agriculture plays a significant role in every economy worldwide, we all know that, but do we understand it. Do we understand how wealthier countries such as, India, America, China, and even England has agriculture as a main priority to the point some wealthy persons today are buying lands in huge proportions? If not then, we should stop and look at what they are doing right, and what we are doing wrong.

I asked google how many types of farming are there in the world today? Google gave me two main ones (1) Subsistence Farming and (2) Commercial Farming. Both types can generate an income for the dependent farmer and his family. In the way of advanced methods used in farming research brought me to HYDROPONIC and VERTICAL farming. This means that the world has moved away from its traditional growing of crops and has now turned to a more technological avenue that saves time, space, and money. Like everything else that is being upgraded, scientists have seen the need to evolve agriculture as well.

While all of that is good for the countries supporting such system, here in Grenada our agriculture sector is on life support machines. Farming is either asthmatic or close to nonexistent. What little farming that is done still uses the traditional form with no thought given to reviving the industry. No talk about the introduction of advanced technological methods nor the education that comes with it. A method that can benefit all farmers and get many people equally interested in the food processing and planting business.

I grew up in a village performing farm duties as a little girl. My grandfather did both plant and livestock farming for a living so, for me, agriculture is a great part of a country’s economy, or should be. In my younger years people loved the idea of planting their own little garden.

Nowadays, because of years of neglect and negative publicity given to the industry, whenever one speaks of farming in some circle, it is like a death sentence. That is how detestable the industry has become to some.

Farming in Grenada is not just a meal ticket, but a traditional system embedded in us from small. An important part of family and community life from days of old. This was seen as a must learned trade. From the cutting of wood for coals, to the planting of pigeon Peas, every child boy/girl, had to accomplish the task, no question asked. From livestock farming, to poultry, the knowledge must be imparted. In the end, you had not only a means of feeding the ones you love, but also a way to pay the bills.

Little incentive was needed then as it was a given how much each family relied on agriculture to sustain its members. The luxury of owning a piece of farmland, was not there for all who desired. Some people worked on farms as laborers to earn their daily income. Today, many views farming as an old folk job or the utterly illiterate. The enthusiasm to delve deeper into the industry by implementing or seeking diverse ways of improving it, went out the window some twenty odd years ago.

I have experienced several crises that showed us how flawed our agriculture sector is in Grenada. The passage of hurricane Ivan, the eruption of Soufriere Hills volcano, and COVID19. With the passage of hurricane Ivan, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines supplied us with farm produce and continued to do so up until the eruption of their volcano. When COVID came around and the lock down instituted, with the scarcity of ground provisions and other such produce, persons became aware of the detrimental effects of not having a back yard garden.

With that said, did our government see it fit to invest heavily in an industry which can both feed and strengthen its people? A revisit of the 2022 budget presentation or Dickon Mitchell’s press conference thereafter will provide the answer. How can a nation that have the power to feed itself go hungry is beyond my imagination. How a country can import on a large scale the very things it can grow is beyond my human thought process.

One will think, since love for country is foremost in the mind of any leader or leading group of people, then the ability of its citizens to feed themselves by learning all basic or technically improved areas of farming must be as important. Not just the importance of the sector, but also be systematically instilled in every child from a tender age. Agriculture in schools is to be taught as the spinal cord a country cannot stand without. It is not to be diminished or reduced to an afterthought of what our grandparents did to survive or because they lacked the knowledge to do better.

Our people must be thought how to utilize ground and air space no matter how small for farming. They must be soundly educated in all modern types of agriculture, and the ways in which each can be used to improve their livelihood. Farmers produce, must find its way outside of Grenada and not sit to rot for lack of local markets. This will help convince them that government cares about their efforts and well being. Seed preservation, timely and competent livestock reproduction and care, must be among all learning capabilities. New methods of irrigation are being utilized in the wider world today why are we not utilizing those methods in Grenada?

Be it the government or civil society, farmers, and farm vendors must be treated with respect and relevance. These are the people responsible for feeding an entire nation. It is time to move in recognition of our hard-working men and women toiling under the blazing sun cutting, clearing, digging, and planting only to come up empty handed at the end of it all. They all matter, and agriculture matters to us as a people, but what does it mean to the people at the helm, nothing, if their budget is anything to be believed. If we continue along the path we are on presently, agriculture in our beloved tri-island nation will breathe its last breath.

Written by N. Regis

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I Am Grenada

2 Comments

  1. T. Curtis Baptiste on 01/13/2022 at 6:59 pm

    I fully agree with the comments by N. Regis.
    I am 74 years old and is very active farming around my home. My biggest problem with farming is the Cost Of the Inputs. Everything is Very Expensive. I believe i Modern Farming Technics, but trying to build a Greenhouse and Nursery is a Challenge. I am planting many different crops, but is also trying to propagate plants that are not easily available.

    • I Am Grenada on 01/13/2022 at 10:15 pm

      We can only imagine in reference to the cost as described in your comment. Prices have increased on all commodities. Regis wrote a very informative article. We were in Grenada prior COVID and were astonished at the variety of fruits that lay wasted as we drove around the island. We were in Black Bay by aunty Rachel, a farmer came by with his produce in a pick up truck and within an hour, he was sold out. People came from all over and bought his fresh fruits and vegetables. The need is there but looks like few are willing to fill that void. The article gave clues as to why.

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