Nutmeg is crucial to Grenada’s economy and Canada is helping to improve it

A bag of dried nutmeg, ready for processing
Photo credit: Joshua Yetman

Grenada’s nutmeg industry is facing a number of challenges and the Government of Canada is providing support to help overcome them.

Dried nutmeg is sent down the chute where it will be cracked open
Photo credit: Joshua Yetman

Canadian High Commissioner Richard Hanley learns about the nutmeg process
Photo credit: Joshua Yetman

High Commissioner Richard Hanley with one of the many rows of drying nutmeg
Photo credit: Joshua Yetman

Mace being sorted by hand
Photo credit: Joshua Yetman

Nutmeg is crucial to Grenada’s economy. For proof, one only need look to the Grenadian flag which includes a nutmeg clove.

In 2004, Grenada felt the wrath of Hurricane Ivan that rendered incredible damage to nutmeg trees. Thankfully, the new nutmeg trees are maturing, and once again, producing fruit. However, there is much work to be done to improve the production of nutmeg — a process that has seen virtually no technological change over time.

The Government of Canada and St. George University are helping the nutmeg industry through a two-phase approach. The first phase, which lessened land degradation in nutmeg plantations, introduced solar dehydrator technology, assessed worker health in the Gouyave processing plant, and delivered occupational health and safety training.

Through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, the High Commission of Canada is contributing $20,000 CDN (approximately $54,000 EC) towards Phase Two.

This second phase will assess the costs and benefits. It will emphasize workers’ health by introducing a solar dehydrator to the processing of nutmeg.

Nutmeg is stirred several times a day over the traditional 8 week drying time, exposing workers to dust and a number of resulting health issues. If successful, the new solar dehydrator will decrease workers’ exposure to dust. Since the dehydrator works more quickly than traditional methods, producers should be able to discontinue the use of chemicals to protect the nutmeg cloves from mould.

Canadian High Commissioner Richard Hanley is excited about the prospects for Grenada’s future: “I am pleased to be able to contribute to worker safety in this industry, as I know how important nutmeg is to your Spice Island’s economy. This project will help to keep workers safe while they deal with harvests that – I believe we all hope – will grow steadily in size.”

One of the Government of Canada’s priorities in the Eastern Caribbean is contributing to the development of economic prosperity. It is hoped that the improvement of nutmeg production and the protection of worker health and safety will be one of many initiatives that will contribute to prosperity in the region.