ST. GEORGE'S, GRENADA, Thursday, August 01, 2013 - GIS: Government has pumped EC 350,000 dollars into the Farm Labour Support Program, which was launched July 15th.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Senator Simon Stiell, made the disclosure during the recent sitting of the Senate.
The Agriculture official says,that some 1,500 farmers will benefit from the exercise, which is also designed to boost local food production.
The program is also another of government’s ploy to provide employment.
Senator Stiell made it clear, that they were not selling off or privatizing the estates; but are partnering with the Private Sector in an attempt to bring the estates back to life.
“We have budgeted EC$350,000 for this program, which also includes Carriacou”, Senator Stiell said.
He indicated, that there will be nine teams, each consisting of 10 workers, who will be employed fortnightly.
The venture according to the Ministry of Agriculture is providing temporary employment for four hundred and fifty (450) workers.
Senator Stiell said, that the program will be closely and carefully monitored to ensure that it is efficiently executed, indicating that there were significant inefficiencies in the past.
“Lands were cleared but never planted. We will be monitoring this to ensure that we get the best value for money and every acre cleared is put under cultivation.”
Senator Stiell indicated, that a government selected committee has been appointed to oversee the venture.
“That appointment has been made, and that committee will convene shortly to start the process. It will not be a process that will be done in isolation”, he said, noting that a wide cross section will be involved.”
Government will be engaging the unions, farmers, community groups, other stakeholders and the Ministry of Finance to ensure that the process of commercialization is in the best interest of the Tri- Island State.
Stiell sees the move as a great opportunity to boost Agriculture production for local consumption, and exports that will derive much needed revenue.
“It is about addressing our food security issues. If we are serious about increasing our national production, not just for domestic consumption; but for exports to generate much needed foreign exchange, we have to put these estates into productive use.”
The Grand Bras, Mt Reuil, Bellevue and Laura are among the Estates identified for action.
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