Grenada is the first in the OECS with the Agricultural Land Operational Bank Project

Grenada’s Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Forests recorded a historic milestone with the signing of leases for the Agricultural Land Bank pilot project.

Ten approved candidates, responsible for cultivating plots on the Pilot Site of the Domaine du Grand Bacolet, signed a first lease last Friday.

Grenada is the only country in the region to facilitate such an undertaking.

The agricultural land bank pilot project aims to reduce unused or underutilized arable land, improve access to fertile land for landless farmers, women and young people interested in agricultural enterprises and improve agricultural production , thereby improving the country’s food and nutrition security.

Agriculture Minister Peter David stressed the importance of the project in realizing the ministry’s plans to bring wasteland into cultivation.

He said: “We can now say that we are putting boots on the ground, increasing agricultural production and creating sustainable livelihoods. One of the ministry’s goals for 2022 is to expand the area of ​​land devoted to agricultural production. This land banking project is one of the tools that will be used to address this issue by bringing uncultivated and unproductive agricultural land to practical and productive use. »

Prior to signing the leases, applicants received training in entrepreneurship from the Climate-Smart Agriculture and Rural Enterprises Program (SAEP) and in agribusiness through the Grenada Investment Development Corporation (GIDC).

They also participated in a three-day training workshop on post-harvest handling and quality requirements for roots and tubers for the local market, which was facilitated by the Marketing and National Importing Board and funded by the Organization of the United Nations for food and agriculture.

Acting Director of Agriculture Trevor Thompson implored attendees to make the most of the opportunity they had been given.

“Don’t sit on your talents and gifts,” Thompson said. “You, who have been rewarded today, put these gifts, talents and training to work so that you can see the fruits of your labor.”

During the early stages of the project, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations received support in the form of training and technical advice.

FAO Land Tenure Officer, Amparo Cerrato Gevawer said: “FAO, at this very moment, is working and looking for opportunities to further strengthen the lank bank in Grenada and to you the applicants, FAO looks forward to support your development in every way we can.”

The approved candidates consist of nine men and one woman; nine were granted four-acre plots and one a three-acre plot.

“Thank you to the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands for giving us this opportunity to do something for ourselves as young people,” said Rondell Forbes, one of the beneficiaries who signed a lease for land at the Grand Bacolet area.

Another tenant, Analisa Panchoo, said she was excited to start production. “I’ve been farming since I was little, so it’s nothing new for me, and I’m ready and committed,” she said.

The Agricultural Land Bank Pilot, officially launched in 2017, is a collaborative initiative between the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Forests and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Cabinet has approved a multi-disciplinary project steering committee to manage the implementation of the project at two pilot sites on government-owned estates, namely Grand Bacolet Estate, St Andrew, which consists of 67.5 acres, and Diamond Estate, St Mark, which consists of 45 acres.

Amalia H. Mercado