The Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, and Forestry in Grenada has recorded a historic milestone with the signing of leases for the Agricultural Pilot Land Bank Project.
Ten approved applicants, tasked with bringing under cultivation plots of land at the Grand Bacolet Estate Pilot Site, signed the first set of lease agreements last Friday.
Grenada is the only country in the region to facilitate such a venture.
The Pilot Agricultural Land Bank Project aims to reduce idle or under-utilized arable lands, improve access to fertile lands for landless farmers, women, and youth interested in agricultural enterprises and improve agricultural production, ultimately improving the country’s food and nutrition security.
Minister for Agriculture, Peter David underscored the importance of this project in bringing to fruition the ministry’s plans to bring idle lands under cultivation.
He said: “We can now say we are putting boots on the ground, expanding agricultural production, and creating sustainable livelihoods. One of the ministry’s objectives for 2022 is to expand the acreage of lands under agricultural production. This Land Bank Project is one of the tools which will be used to address this issue by bringing agricultural lands left idle and unproductive into practical and productive use.”
Prior to the signing of the leases, applicants received training in entrepreneurship from the Climate Smart Agriculture and Rural Enterprise Programme (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 Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Acting Chief Agricultural Officer, Trevor Thompson, implored the participants to make the best use of the opportunity they had been given.
“Don’t sit on your talents and gifts,” Thompson stated. “You, who have been awarded today, but those gifts and talents and training to work so that you would see the fruits of your labor.”
During the preliminary stages of the project, support through training and technical advice was received from the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
FAO Land Tenure Officer, Amparo Cerrato Gevawer, said: “The FAO at this very moment, is working and looking for opportunities to further strengthen the lank bank in Grenada and to you the applicants, the FAO looks forward to supporting your development any way we can.”
The approved applicants consist of nine males and one female; nine have been granted four-acre plots and one, a three-acre plot.
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