P.M Tillman Thomas holds special meeting with GCA Board and Manager

Thursday, August 18, 2011 12:07 PM
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P.M Tillman Thomas holds special meeting with GCA Board and ManageST. GEORGE'S, GRENADA; WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2011 – Prime Minister Tillman Thomas yesterday held a closed-door meeting with the manager and board members of the Grenada Cocoa Association (GCA) to discuss issues relevant to the current status and further development of cocoa production and processing in Grenada.

Coming out of the meeting, both the Prime Minister and the Board members had praise for the nation's hard-working cocoa farmers, the Grenada Chocolate Company of St. Patrick, and the farm support and fertilizer assistance programs of the Ministry of Agriculture.

However, they also objectively had some concerns over certain areas and issues which were identified as having room for improvement.

According to the GCA, there has been a massive increase in cocoa production since 2008. To illustrate this point, Mr. Andrew Hastick, GCA's manager, noted that the parish of St. David for example, has moved from producing 0.5% (5000 lbs/annum)of Grenada's national production to 7% (91,000 lbs to date) in the current year.

"The new farm support program of the Ministry of Agriculture and the availability of subsidized fertilizer" have contributed significantly to this increase in production, Mr. Ramsey Rush, the Chairman of GCA, pointed out.

The PM and the GCA officials agreed that Government and farmers must continue to look for every available opportunity to maximize production of our cocoa -- one of the world's finest in terms of quality; and to harness our potential in the added-value production of chocolate and other refined cocoa products.

Regarding added-value production, the GCA manager disclosed that the new Chocolate Factory in Duquesne, St. Mark would be opened before the end of 2011. This factory is a joint venture between the Government of Grenada, the GCA and the international chocolatier, L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates.

Other issues discussed at the special meeting, included the recognized need for closer coordination and cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and the GCA, the need for forward movement with the revision of the Act which provides for the management of the cocoa industry by the GCA, and the need to comprehensively set and monitor standards for organically grown farm products, including cocoa, in Grenada.

On these matters, Prime Minister Thomas promised "to accelerate ongoing, facilitative action and to deliberately engage all stake-holders."




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