Sugar and Spice and everything Digital!

Digital innovation – coming to the Spice Island

December 1, 2022
Photo by Sara Coppini

Grenada is known as the Spice Island for its major exports of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cocoa. Agriculture accounts for 5% of Grenada’s GDP, but the sector is vulnerable to global price fluctuations and natural disasters. However, Digital Innovation may be the answer! Grenada is taking an active role in the digitalisation of its economies and sectors, with the development of a Smart Small State Vision in 2021 and taking steps towards the implementation of a Digital Innovation Hub in 2022. Now, Grenada is working with UNDP to support digital solutions from a grass roots level.

Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the Government of Grenada in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, the ‘Climate-Resilient Agriculture for Integrated Landscape Management in Grenada’ (CRA) Project has launched a Digital Challenge that is seeing success in supporting community lead solutions.

Designed to support small businesses in the agro-processing and agrotourism sectors to leverage the power of data and digital technologies, the Digital Challenge offers grant funding for agro-processors and agro-tourism businesses. This funding will help them develop and implement innovative solutions that will digitally transform their businesses, and in turn, the agricultural sector. These digital interventions can help rectify a host of issues that currently plague the island’s agricultural sector. For example, digital solutions can enhance the dissemination of information and help track the supply chain to improve profitability and reduce food waste. Agro-processing businesses can use digital apps to directly manage supply, coordinate deliveries, and make payments to smallholder farmers. Digital marketing and mobile apps can help inspire tourists and customers to discover Grenada’s ecotourism establishments to make bookings and payments online. 

Now in its second iteration, the CRA project’s Digital Challenge is providing funding as well as boosting local capacity to receive said funding. In a special collaboration with the forthcoming Grenada Technology and Innovation Hub, UNDP hosted a workshop on November 22 which brought together potential applicants from the agro-processing and agro-tourism sector with Grenadian digital innovators, and digital marketing gurus from Sonover Inc. And Digital Growth Inc. to explore the opportunities to digitally transform their businesses and operations.  Applicants were also offered training from the Grenada Investment Development Corporation for guidance in writing a strong proposal and pitching their ideas. 

Permanent Secretary with responsibility for Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries & Co-operatives, Mr. Aaron Francois, speaking to interested agro-processors and agro-tourism operators.

Photo Credit: Digital Growth Inc.

Speaking at the workshop, the Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Mr. Aaron Francois, shared “as a person who grew up in a rural community dependent on agriculture, I am hopeful that the CRA Digital Challenge will be this opportunity for you to bring your business into the 21st century and to collaborate with other like-minded businesses and individuals who will bring digital innovation to the forefront of agriculture”.

A Green and Social Recovery is essential post COVID19.  For all its negative impacts, the pandemic provides an unprecedented opportunity to re-imagine and re-shift our societies and economies to move forward better, by creating greater balance between people, planet and prosperity. This focus on digital innovation in agriculture will pave the way to modernize and build the resilience of the sector and enhance food security on the island. The UNDP-GEF CRA project supports sustainable rural livelihoods and education on climate smart agriculture and sustainable land management (SLM) initiatives, including women, men, and youth for more information on the UNDP/GEF project for Climate Resilient Agriculture for Integrated Landscape Management visit