28th March 2023 St. Johns: The event closing the formal relationship between the Gilbert Agriculture Rural Development Centre (GARDC) as local contractor to the IICA-CBF EbA Facility funded project entitled Strengthening Coastal and Marine Climate Resilience through Upland and Coastal Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EbA) and Community Engagement, was fulfilling as it was inspiring. The event was also used to mark the achievements of an extremely important aspect of the project – the official launch of the vetiver-based green businesses.
Gregg Rawlins ECS Representative, marked the events as “extremely timely and relevant as it provides a suitable space for us to recognize the critical partnerships that have been forged during the life of the project and launch the vetiver-based green businesses, registered during the project. The event also provides a platform to showcase the products produced from vetiver in the Exhibition-Mini-market, thereby demonstrating the potential of vetiver for pursuing green business opportunities”.
Newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Agriculture and Barbuda Affairs, Hon. EP Chet Greene, got the opportunity to participate in his first IICA-led action since his appointment in January 2023. In his remarks he recalled his colleague former Minister of Agriculture Hon. Samantha Marshall speaking highly of this project during their cabinet sessions in 2021-22.
He expressed his satisfaction in seeing the end products derived from the vetiver grass thus far, which creates a new niche market for agro-processors. He committed his support to GARDC and other project beneficiaries in building their green business ventures. The minister was presented with a basket of appreciation from Ms. June Jackson, GARDC Director, containing value-added vetiver grass products created by GARDC.
“No project design or implementation is perfect; and this project was kicked-off at the same time COVID-19 shut down the world for almost a full 12 months in some Caribbean countries. But the impact of disruptions and project imperfections are far outweighed, when there are persons willing and committed to look and work past the flaws to deliver on the results for the benefits of those who need the intervention”. So emphasized Ms. Diana Francis, IICA Trinidad & Tobago Representative and head of the EbA PMU, as she indicated that the event serves two very inter-connected purposes, to recognize the outstanding partnership of the GARDC as a project local counterpart and to introduce and welcome into the green economy, entrepreneurship based on the nature-based solution promoted by the project, i.e., the vetiver grass.
One of the highlights of the event was the ‘picture tells 100 words’ presentation by June Jackson- GARDC Director, which traced the project from its inception, marked by a pivotal shipment of vetiver 6500 plantlets from Dominica to Antigua, which seeded 2 vetiver grass nurseries producing plants for installation at Cooks Landfill, to harvesting leaves and roots from the same nurseries to create a variety of value-added.