Farmers on the island are beginning to express disappointment with newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Peter David with some of them accusing him of showing no signs of having put together a vision and action plan for the development of the industry.
According to a well-placed source, since assuming the position about five months ago, Minister David met about twice with the Board of Directors of the Grenada Co-operative Nutmeg Association (GCNA) and the Grenada Cocoa Association (GCA) but both sessions were cut short on the grounds that he had other planned engagements.
The farmer described the two meetings as being “rushed” by the minister who seemed to be in a hurry to go somewhere else rather than have a serious sit down with members of the farming community.
“As he (Minister David) come, before he sit down he (look at) his watch and he just say he has to be on the airport or have another meeting,” he told THE NEW TODAY.
“If you have to rush, why set the meetings for those times? Look for a time when you are freer and seriously engage your constituents,” he said.
When asked if Minister David has given the farmers’ organisations any indication on the policies that he intends to pursue in the sector, the source said: “No, he has not. We never really had any sit down seriously with the minister.”
The farmer stated that he expected Minister David to be coming to farmers by now with some kind of a serious plan for the development of the sector which has been on the decline in the past 25 years.
He said the minister has a number of technocrats around him in the Ministry of Agriculture and should by now have a vision to take to the farming community.
“You must come to the ministry with some kind of a vision because you are leading. I am not sure that he (David) can actually put down a plan for agriculture. He himself must have some kind of concept where agriculture needs to go. I am not sure he has that (vision). If you don’t have one (a plan) try to create one”.
“If they put you in a school as a principal or a business to manage, when you go there as manager you must have a plan, a vision of where you want to take this business or school – you must have it in your head and use your officers to help you get there but I am not sure the minister has that – I am not sure – somebody refer to him as a saga boy minister”.
“He has not put forward any plan at least for the industry, the sector not yet- maybe he is writing it – I don’t know. He might have it in his back pocket. He hasn’t presented anything so I don’t know if he is still writing one and perhaps will then come to discuss it – I don’t know. The truth being told, no, he hasn’t really presented anything to these bodies – not nutmeg, not cocoa.
The farmer suggested that the time is opportune for the new Minister of Agriculture to have a meaningful engagement and sit down with key bodies in the sector like the GCNA, GCA and Fisheries to extract something from them and then concretise an action plan for the industry.
“..If you do not have a serious meeting with them then how will you create one? If you are running a ministry you must have a Master Plan,” he said.
The farmer said he is getting the impression that the new Minister of Agriculture is someone “who goes around and tries to make people happy – give them that, give them this without no plan – you see a man doing cabbage you give him two bags of fertilisers and he (David) smiles”.
THE NEW TODAY understands that farmers in some villages in St. Andrew North-west are said to be up in arms against the Minister of Agriculture who promised them fertilisers for their fields but is yet to deliver.
The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) regime has often been accused of paying lip service to agriculture and concentrating instead on passport-selling under a controversial Citizenship by Investment Programme to engage in mega hotel projects especially in the tourism sector.