Ministry of Agriculture supports GRENCODA in implementation of FAO pilot projects

Acknowledging that water scarcity is one of the greatest encounters for our rural farmers, the Grenada Community Development Agency (GRENCODA) through two pilot programmes financed by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and technical support from the Ministry of Agriculture made it possible for 6 rural farmers to receive systems that can improve water access, storage, and increase nutrient value of their soils.

All 6 farmers received their 800-gallon storage tanks, among other equipment to undergo composting and rainwater harvesting at their farms last October. They have now progressed into full implementation of these structures which were officially commissioned on Monday, 10 February 2020.

Benny Langaigne, Deputy General Secretary for GRENCODA, during a special commissioning ceremony welcomed coordinating and collaborating with the FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands on another instance to assist rural farmers. The farmers he said have embraced their new equipment. “We see the farmers have not sat back since receiving that support, they have embraced it and have added to it, by investing in drip lines and irrigation systems so that they can water their plants.”

“…The composting also we believe is very important and has a lot of benefits for the farmers. It reduces the costs of very expensive fertilisers, and is more eco-friendly. They can plant without wreaking havoc on the earth.”

The Ministry of Agriculture is pleased to be associated with this project which aims to promote food security in rural areas by involving Climate Smart Agricultural Techniques. The Ministry was able to provide logistical and technical support, to the team and GRENCODA and farmers.

“It is critical for you to appreciate the investment that has been placed at your feet. The best way to do this is to take good care and put the facility into best use, as what you do is recognised as an investment,” Elvis Morain, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Agriculture and Lands implored the farmers.

Farmer, Ron Andall, is appreciative of the new tanks as they provide farmers like himself an opportunity to continue working through-out the dry season. “Levera is a dry forest area and our farmers in the area are seasonal farmers because we have to operate when the rain is falling. We are extremely grateful to GRENCODA, FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture for allowing us to have these water harvesting structures. We would have to be packing in our tools at this time of year (dry season) some of us are in preparation for going into another cycle of crops. The composting component of it allows us to conserve water and it also aids us in making our contribution towards feeding the nation healthier.”

“It is just wonderful now that my tank and composting system are in place. The soil up here is very dry that at times it cracks. Now that we have these tanks it will be better for us as the earth would remain moist,” farmer Emlyn St Louis said.

Following a successful tour of farms in Florida, Victoria, La Fortune, Madeys and Snell Hall, Kelly Walcott, Consultant from the FAO, says she was pleased with the implementation phase. “The pilots are amazing and I can see the ways that you are benefitting. I am thankful for your perseverance and patience,” she told farmers present.

Now that the farmers have implemented their systems it means that they will be able to store and collect rainwater and use for watering their crops. This can be correlated to reduced costs of water, increased production and higher yields due to increased irrigation.

Ministry of Agriculture – ensuring food and nutrition security for all.

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