At a recent Covid-19 digital press conference, on April 22nd, 2020, the Political Leader of the main opposition party in Grenada, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Franka Bernardine, expressed strong concerns for the Nutmeg and Cocoa farmers in Grenada. According to Mrs. Bernadine, the passage of the Limited State of Emergency by the Government of Grenada on March 25th, 2020, has brought great hardship to the Nutmeg and Cocoa Industries and other Agricultural Sub-sectors of the country.
She expressed the view that while the lockdown was necessary for the safety of everyone, all farmers and fisherfolks ought to have been considered as essential services by the authorities. Significant challenges have surfaced in the Nutmeg and Cocoa Industries as a result ranging from spoilages, storage, economic declines in the rural economy, and significant losses in the generation of foreign exchange. Concerning the problem of spoilage for the farmers, she stated that “nutmegs need to be aerated and get out of the farmer’s hand because storage for the farmers becomes a big issue.”
She highlighted the fact that the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association (GCNA), who usually purchases Nutmegs daily, was denied its request to operate by the authorities, which contributed further to difficulties for over 7000 farmers. Over 1 Million dollars is distributed in the rural economy every month from the sales of Nutmeg. The annual contribution, she stated, from Nutmeg sales nationally was between 12 to 15 million dollars and around 8 million dollars for Cocoa. Fishing she mentioned also contributed close to 25 million dollars to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
Given the significance of the sector, Mrs. Bernardine called on the Government to reconsider its decision and allow the Grenada Nutmeg and Cocoa Associations the right to operate during the limited state of emergency.