The Management of the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association (GCNA) and the Grenada Cocoa Association have sought financial support from Government in an effort to sustain the local industry in the wake of financial challenges that have been attributed to COVID-19.
'We have approached the Government for what we called back up funds because the Board of both Associations had a joint meeting to give the impact of COVID-19 on the industry,' said Leo Cato, Chairman of the Board of the GCNA.
'We do not know how long COVID-19 will last, since March the market in Europe has been closed and that is where we sell most of our produce,' he said while providing justification for approaching the Government to support a proposal that will allow the Associations to purchase produce from farmers in the absence of its normal revenue stream.
'We felt that the impact will be longer than we think, we do not know how long the market will remain closed, so we approach the Government for support because we want to be able to buy from farmers even though we cannot sell,' he said.
The biggest markets for nutmeg are Europe and Argentina. 'And the borders of both markets are closed, we sell to some CARICOM states, but these are small shipments,' Cato said.
The Government has announced that the GCNA will receive EC$3 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) in total with EC$2 million as a loan with an interest rate of 1.5% over a nine-year period while the GCA will receive EC$2 million with EC$1 million in grant and the other as a loan.
The Government has also requested the title deed for one of the properties as part of the legal arrangement.
Nutmeg and Cocoa farmers were among...