Grenada is now better poised to increase agricultural production and offer better quality and variety of crops, through the use of a fully automated greenhouse at the Chinese Demonstration Site, at La Sagesse, St David.
The greenhouse, which is the first of its kind in Grenada and the largest in the Caribbean, was commissioned on Thursday, in the presence of Minister for Agriculture, Lands and Forestry Hon Peter David; Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Grenada His Excellency, Wei Hongtian; and Parliamentary Representative for St David Hon. Oliver Joseph.
This smart facility realises the real-time monitoring, early warning, and regulation of the environment; creates suitable environmental conditions for crop growth and development, optimises the agricultural cultivation measures, and relieves the intensity of field labour, while improving productivity.
The Agriculture Minister underscored the importance of the greenhouse in ensuring food and nutrition security, particularly as the country manages the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. “I truly believe that this is the type of technology we need to invest in and promote, if we are to entice our youth to seriously pursue agriculture and make the sector more sustainable. This facility will be a model that can be adapted to fit the purpose and conditions of many producers to ensure that more of them use protected agriculture to produce many of our vegetables, ornamentals and horticultural crops,” Minister David remarked.
The Chinese Ambassador regards the existence of the greenhouse as a milestone for agricultural development and modernisation in Grenada. He said, “I think it will not only serve as a facility for agricultural services, experimentation, technological innovation, demonstration, training, research and promotion, but also as a new base for sightseeing and other activities to enhance people’s interest in agriculture.”
The Parliamentary Representative for St David noted that Grenada’s food import bill in 2019 was $350 million. He is grateful for the facility at La Sagesse, as he believes it will help in significantly decreasing that figure. “We must feed ourselves, in order to cut back on this huge food import bill and a greenhouse is one such technique,” Minister Joseph said. “This will help us to increase our production and ensure that we can produce what we eat right here in Grenada.”
Farmers’ Representative in the Senate Roderick St Clair foresees the transformation of the agricultural sector through use of this technology, especially with the effects of climate change. “We can have a model to show farmers that we can produce year-round under a controlled environment,” he said.
The commissioning of the greenhouse marked the end of the 7th phase of technical assistance and cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and Grenada, which was contracted to Hubei Dadi International Company for Economic Technical Cooperation (Group). A plaque of appreciation was handed over to Head of the Chinese Mission Shen Zhiwan for its contribution to the development of agriculture throughout the seventh phase of the technical cooperation agreement.
Ministry of Agriculture…ensuring food and nutrition security for all.