Ministry of Agriculture and Lands- 25 September,2019, Officers of the Ministry of Agriculture and lands, and other produce – export organizations were for two days engaged in an “Inspection Procedure of Fresh Produce” workshop. The workshop which opened on Wednesday 20th November, allowed the stakeholders such as Pest Management Officers, Plant Quarantine Officers, Officers of the Marketing and National Importing Board and the Grenada Bureau of Standards to further understand the dynamics of inspecting fresh produce for export. The training was facilitated by Mr. Derek Charles National Specialist for IICA and organized by the Grenada Bureau of Standards in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture. Mr. Charles in providing an overview of the workshop said:
“For our first day, we focused on theoretical aspect, then on the second day included the practical aspect. The inspectors learned to use the various tools for inspection and specifications, based on what exists at the moment.”
Statistics from the Ministry of Trade reveal that imports for 2018 stood at EC$1.26 billion worth of produce compared to EC$84.56 million exportation of which EC$44.32 million being agricultural products. While this gap exists, it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to help expand Grenada’s Trade exports. Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade; Mr. Aaron Francois says with the training comes the mandate of enforcing the Fresh Produce Act.
“We really want to start enforcing the Fresh Produce Exportation Act; we believe that if we are going to protect Grenada’s Trade, we must inspect our produce leaving Grenada, because we are putting our country and our exporters at risk when we fail to do that.”
Kyla Walker- Technical Certification officer at the Grenada Bureau of Standards says that the training serves as a capacity building for inspectors as the bureau continues to encourage the enforcement of the fresh produce act.
“This session is to ensure that all of the inspectors understand the requirements of the standard, so that each inspector has an idea of the procedures required.”
Head of the pest management Unit Mr. Thaddeus Peters was one of the participants of the workshop. He indicated the importance of such session.
“Pest management is already involved in, another aspect of inspection of fresh produce for
export, which looks at the phytosanitary issues; We are using the same personnel to do anadditional inspection or to produce an additional certificate for persons trading fresh produce.“ Local exportation is guided by the Fresh Produce Act which was reenacted back in 2017.