The cheerfulness to which we have grown accustomed is becoming a scarce commodity as the hardships we must endure are mounting. A young child, in all his innocence, said it feels like the sun is setting on the world. It is our guess that he is one of those who pay attention to the many gripes from the adults
especially in this time of COVID-19, which is partly responsible for the rise in cost of living. The recent hike in the price of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is seeing bus and taxi-owners calling for permission to increase fares. However, the politicians are not seeing this as prudent at this time when many constituents have lost their jobs and are living almost on the breadline as they too must pay more for cooking gas. We have long gone past the coal pot and kerosene stoves; so the onus is now on the current administration to work on finding solutions and it is our hope that we will see some evidence of that.
Grenadian people are looking for some hope to calm their fears. In the last three weeks we have heard of one alleged suicide and another attempted. The concerns of the people must be taken to a higher level. The government must come up with ideas that can be channeled to more worthwhile ventures such as creating jobs, feeding the nation, stopping praedial larceny and finding markets for the farmers. The Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB) should by now, learn from past mistakes where containers of tamarind balls, water melons and such like were sent back to Grenada which the prospective buyer deemed sub-standard. It must do the correct thing in finding new markets which are offering guaranteed stable prices. With the absence of much going on at hotels, the farmers are now experiencing spoilage which cannot be fair to them.
People have now grown accustomed to an extravagant way of life and are now struggling to cope with the escalating cost of living which seems to be driving them to strange behaviours. For a lot of people, life seems like doomsday is at hand when they try to purchase food which has almost doubled in prices. The village life culture is no more with people even abandoning washing in rivers thus being faced with huge water bills. This brings to mind that the Tempe blue soap factory created a lot of jobs for the ordinary folk in the past. Then there were some sweet drink factories and even a lime factory on the Carenage. There was also a time when jeans made by Hadeed’s garment factory in Grand Anse blazed the trail in the Caribbean; they were certainly of a very high standard; and who can forget our agro industry factory?
During the Revolution, much emphasis was placed on agriculture, which is regarded by many as one of Grenada’s gifts from God. In 1980 three other areas were identified to establish more farm schools. They were Boulogne in Saint Andrew, Six Roads in Carriacou and Plains in Saint Patrick. These were earmarked to train farmers in modern technology in keeping with world demands; that was 41 years ago and we are still stuck with the one in Mirabeau, which seems to be limping along. Some Grenadians boast that the Revolution had great ideas, so why not take a page from its book. When the late George Louison was the Minister of Agriculture, he announced that Mirabeau Agricultural Station will be the Ministry’s research and development unit with a soil and plant diagnostic laboratory to make it possible to identify the nutrients in the soil, as well as those lacking and pests. We are not sure whether that came on stream. But we do know that there is a never-ending problem at Grand Bras estate in Saint Andrew which seems to be infested with plant pests that make it impossible to produce high yields of certain items. Then there is the recent attack of the croton insects that are wreaking havoc on trees which again are making farmers lose much needed funds as they watch their fruit trees wither and die. It was recently revealed that with more lady bird beetles around, some pests will go away.
Why are we not hearing about programmes to introduce those beetles now, since we no longer use the small aircraft that sprayed bananas with chemicals that was blamed for killing beetles and other insects? Another interesting thought is, was there a study on the negatives of the mosquito spray or fogging in the environment? If we are serious about farmers playing a key role in food security, then let action speak louder than words.
The new Senator who represents the farmers, exhibits a lot of energy but he needs to touch the ground some more. He needs to find out the status of the Aquaponics alternative agriculture project that was introduced to Petite Martinique and the corn-fish business in Carriacou. Then he must also explore why the lovely farmers’ market near the Sandino plant is not being utilized to glorify the sale of agricultural products while people continue to hustle on the roadside.