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Cocoa farmers cannot meet world demand for the crop

A farmer is captured cracking cocoa

A shortage of cocoa is affecting Grenada’s ability to earn much more for the product on the world market.

According to a source to the Grenada Cocoa Association (GCA), the island cannot provide the amount of cocoa that is being demanded by international purchasers.

He said that Cocoa production is down by 300,000 lbs over last year’s crop due to the adverse weather conditions being experienced in the country.

“The price is not bad for cocoa – we are getting US$4200 per tonne for cocoa and on the world market it is US$2200.00,” he added.

Grenada is known to produce a premium cocoa that is in great demand especially for the making of chocolate.

Farmers involved in the growing of nutmeg trees are also affected by the weather and cannot meet demands on the world market.

Nutmeg prices have moved from US$6000.00 a tonne to $12,000.00 a tonne due to a shortage.

The source told THE NEW TODAY that GCA cannot meet the demand for cocoa and have embarked upon an initiative aimed at increasing production by writing to a number of persons who were once into cocoa production like Douglaston Estate to clear the vines from cocoa trees in order to harvest the crop.

“We (are) calling them and want to help them cut out the vine and reap the cocoa. We want to get some more cocoa – we (are) making desperate efforts,” he said.

According to the source, the new Dickon Mitchell-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has given GCA a grant of EC$150,000.00 to help farmers with a labour assistance programme.

He said that the association has put in an additional EC$50,000.00 to make it $200,000.00 to execute the programme.

THE NEW TODAY understands that about 300 farmers have already been able to receive assistance through the initiative.

In recent years, agriculture has been on the decline in Grenada and exports of nutmegs and cocoa have been taken over by tourism as the main foreign exchange earner for the island.

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