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Campbell credits new government on its handling of SEAP

Byron Campbell – the Director in charge of SEAP

Head of the United Nations-funded Climate Smart Agriculture and Rural Enterprise Programme (SAEP) in Grenada, Byron Campbell has given the new Congress government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell a passing grade in its handling of the project since taking office nearly seven months ago.

“I am pleased with the progress so far with their policies – no issues with that,” Campbell told THE NEW TODAY in an exclusive interview.

“I think the government is doing things by the books,” he said.

According to Campbell, since taking office the new administration has appointed a new Steering Committee and Chairman for SAEP in the person of Curlan Gilchrist, a former Director of Budget in the Ministry of Finance.

He said that he was “pleased about” this development as Gilchrist is “an excellent choice” and that “good people are there” to provide oversight for the project that targets development in the rural areas of the country.

“I think he (Gilchrist) is a pretty strong Chairman – very knowledgeable on these projects. That tells me the priority that is being given to it. I am pleased about this,” he added.

The Dickon Mitchell-led administration has reversed a decision taken by the former New National Party (NNP) government of defeated Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to remove the SAEP sub-office from Sauteurs in St Patrick.

Campbell said that he was now looking forward to the project which has just over 18 months of its six-year cycle to run to achieve “the final targets” that were set.

Grenada is one of the few countries in the region that benefits from financing of projects from the UN body known as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

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About two months ago, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Claudette Joseph was critical of the implementation rate of projects coming out of SAEP as it was put at a low 37% but Campbell attributed it mainly to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the island over a two-year period.

SAEP is a six (6) year Programme (2018- 2024) funded by IFAD as well as the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Grenada.

It is part of the Rural Development Unit of the Ministry of Finance and focuses on assisting beneficiaries to improve their livelihoods through skills training, investments in agriculture, teaching Climate Smart Practices and providing Business Skills Training and Technical services to Rural Enterprises in the rural communities throughout the island.

Under its mandate, Business Support, Entrepreneurial Skills Training and Financing will be offered through the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) and Vocational Skills Training for young people will be provided through the T.A. Marryshow Community College, NEWLO and Grenada National Training Agency in approved training centers island wide.

The project is also committed to providing extension support, training in Climate Change and Climate Smart Agriculture and financing for CSA initiatives to be facilitated through the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Ministry of Climate resilience and Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs, as well as Market Support Services to farmers through a Marketing Officer, and contracting for the construction or rehabilitation of rural farm access roads and the rehabilitation of irrigation systems for farmers.

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