The state normally referred to as Grenada comprises the three islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique. Grenada is located at the southern end of the Lesser Antilles, between 11°58` and 12°13` N latitude and 61°20` and 61°35` W longitude. Grenada has a land area of approximately 312 sq.km, Carriacou 34 sq.km. and Petit Martinique 2.3 sq.km. The state is divided into six parishes and one dependency - Carriacou and Petit Martinique.
In 1997 the population was estimated at 96 000, with 44 percent residing in the rural and agricultural regions. Annual growth rate was estimated at 1.8 percent and average population density at 279 persons per sq.km.
The economy attained a favorable growth rate of 5.8 percent in 1998, compared with a growth rate of 4.2 percent and 2.9 percent in 1997 and 1996 respectively. This growth is a result of increased manufacturing activity, buoyancy in the construction sector, falling inflation and a stable financial sector. Data from the unemployment survey conducted in August 1998 indicates that the unemployment rate fell from 17.0 percent in 1996 to 15.2 percent in 1998.
Following a one percent decline in 1997, output in the agriculture sector grew by 2.4 percent in 1998. The sector contribution to GDP decreased to 9.1 percent from 9.5 percent the previous years. Though the role of the sector in the economy is declining, it still continues to be of importance, especially in the rural areas. However, the sector continues to be affected by decreasing productivity, the use of undesirable and insufficient inputs, and pests and diseases. While the pink mealy bug was brought under control in 1997, a new challenge of controlling the mango seed weevil has arisen. Nutmeg continues to be the leading agricultural crop in terms of export, followed by cocoa. The banana industry, which in the past was the main pillar of the economy, has declined continuously since in 1988. Government with the assistance of the European Union has jointly embarked on a plan to attempt to resuscitate the industry.
Grenada has a humid tropical marine climate, with little seasonal variation in daylength and relative humidity. Rainfall distribution throughout the year is divided into a dry season from January to May and a wet season from June to December. Mean annual rainfall is 2350mm. Variations in rainfall range from 1 500 to 5 000mm per annum. The temperature at sea level is generally high with little seasonal or locational variation. The country is divided into eight agro-climatic zones based on temperature and rainfall.
Water resources originate from a system of perennial streams and rivers, with some groundwater available from the limestone areas along the northwest coast. Surface water systems such as rivers, streams and ponds are the major sources of fresh water for human consumption and agriculture. The entire population has access to domestic water supply.
Data from the National Water and Sewage Authority(NAWASA) suggest that about 52 percent of the population receives private water service, 23 percent uses public standpipes, and 23 percent use rain water catchments, private springs, streams or ponds. Presently there are 29 water supply facilities in the country.
The soils of Grenada are dominated by clay loams (84 percent), followed by clays (12 percent) and sandy loams (three percent). The soils are mostly well drained and reasonably fertile. The combination of high temperatures, high rainfall and reasonably fertile soil in most areas provide the country's land base with considerable potential for productive cropping. However, this potential can be constrained by steep slopes and their proneness to erosion.
The report "State of Land, Water and Plant Nutrition Resources in Grenada" is available on the Internet and is summarised below.
The main institutions responsible for land resources are the Land Development Control Authority, the Forestry Division, the Land Use Division, the Extension Division and the Lands and Surveys Division.
The main institutions dealing with plant nutrition resources are the Agronomy Division, the Forestry Division, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, and the Republic of China on Taiwan (RCT) Agricultural Technical Mission.
The National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) is responsible for the development of potable water supplies as well as the sanitary disposal of sewage. The Ministry of Agriculture's Forestry Division is responsible for the protection of water catchment areas, while its Agronomy Division is responsible for the development of irrigation on the island. The Land Use Division houses the Land Resources Information System and that database contains rainfall data for over 60 stations located throughout the country, for varying periods of time. For 10 of those stations, data are available for the past 50 years. For three agrometeorological stations data are available on mean monthly temperature, sunshine, relative humidity, cloud cover and wind speed.
The main issues related to land resources are the loss of arable lands to non-agricultural land use, land degradation due to inappropriate solid waste disposal and poor agricultural practices such as the misuse of steep slopes leading to soil erosion and landslides, the lack of a national land policy, weak and insufficient land management legislation and declining returns from traditional export crops.
Properly constructed landfills are required to replace the open dump sites. This should be followed by closure of all previously approved and informal open dump sites. It is recognized that properly designed landfill sites are necessary to serve the islands. However, because of the shortage of suitable land away from existing residential developments, procurement of a suitable site may be problematic. In rural areas it is uneconomic to maintain and operate separate landfills because of the small volume of garbage generated. Other appropriate technologies should be pursued at these locations.
Uncertain land tenure and an absence of an efficient land registration system cause problems with land title and ownership.
Coastal erosion was also considered to be an issue of serious concern. Though it was noted that some of this erosion is the result of natural processes, it is believed that sand mining is contributing to coastal erosion. In the absence of a suitable alternative source of fine aggregate and with the growing demand for sand in an expanding economy, the problem is not expected to be resolved in the near future.
The main water resources issues are waste disposal at sea, wastewater management, encroachment within the water catchment areas, overfishing and siltation of coral reefs.
Commercial shipping and cruise ships plying the country's sea lanes must dispose of their solid waste either in port or at sea. Failure to provide such facilities at ports increases the probability of disposal of such waste at sea, with the resulting deleterious effects on the marine environment. Port reception and disposal facilities are to be put in place.
The Government of Grenada intends to implement a policy to ensure that all wastewater is disposed of in a sanitary manner. The operational problem associated with this policy is that less than seven percent of all water customers are metered. Even after connection to the sewerage system was made mandatory, very few of those customers were metered.
The increasing demand for land for agriculture has resulted in many small farmers entering forested areas and clearing lands for small farming. Such encroachments result in deforestation, soil erosion and pollution of streams, rivers and coastal waters, with a consequent decrease in volumes of fresh water sources. There are insufficient water storage facilities to harness water lost during the rainy season. In the case of water used for irrigation, there is some indecision as to the price that farmers should be charged.
The issue of major concern to the authorities responsible for the management of coastal resources is overfishing, particularly of reef fisheries and other exotic species such as conch and lobster. Most of the western coastal reefs are covered with solid waste, debris, old vehicles etc. There have also been sightings of reefs being smothered with silt. The main causes of these problems are related to inland development activities, particularly in the building and agricultural sectors, where erosion and other activities pollute the streams and other waterways which lead to the sea.
Inadequate soil analytical services, unavailability of appropriate fertilizers and misuse of the fertilizers that are available are the main issues of plant nutrition resources.
The government of Grenada intends to implement a policy aimed towards the conservation of the country's forest resources. The objectives of the policy are to conserve species, ecosystems, and genetic diversity; maintain, enhance and restore the ability of forests to provide goods and services on a sustainable basis; and optimize the contribution of forest resources to social and economic development
The government has also adopted an integrated approach to watershed management, with appropriate institutional arrangements. With respect to land resources, the approach aims to, maximize soil cover and prevent deforestation, as far as possible, in all watershed areas; minimize soil erosion and sedimentation; control infrastructural development; improve farming practices in catchment areas and identify and recommend alternatives for activities detrimental to watersheds.
Government also encourages tree planting to reduce soil erosion, improve soil fertility, beautify and enhance the environment, provide timber and other products and maintain biodiversity.
Programmes have also been developed to encourage stakeholders (e.g. schools and other community groups and organizations) in tree planting in urban and rural areas. Incentives are also created for tree planting on private lands.
In 1995, FAO, through its technical cooperation programme, implemented a project to establish a computer-aided Land Information System for Grenada. That information system contains databases of soil, land use and climatic data, and has the capacity to estimate the potential for production of alternative cropping options at various locations on the island. It is a very useful tool for decision-making.
Other initiatives which are considered bright spots for land resources in Grenada are the Draft Crown Lands Policy, the Dry Zone Forest Management Project, the Carriacou and Petit Martinique Integrated Land Use and Forest Management Project, the Grand Etang Forest Reserve and the remnant site of the Mardigras Soil and Water Conservation Project.
With respect to water resources, the integrated approach to watershed management mentioned in the previous section also aims to conserve all groundwater and surface water resources and protect them from pollution and depletion. Additionally, it aims to minimize sedimentation, particularly for the benefit of aquatic species and freshwater and marine ecosystems.
The Marine Protected Areas Project, the draft Revised Water Legislation, the Grenada Irrigation and Drainage Project, the Annual School Coastal Zone Management Competition and the legal designation of Clarks Court/Woburn Bay and Molinière/Beauséjour Bay as Coastal Protected Areas are all initiatives which are intended to promote more sustainable systems of water resources management.
With respect to plant nutrition resources, the current analytical laboratory can be easily upgraded to do soil and plant testing.
The main challenges facing land, water and plant nutrition resource managers in Grenada are:
Data are limited in quantity and detail. Some of the available data are inadequate and outdated. The data that are available are kept in decentralized areas, which impedes access. Data sets are not standardised so they vary widely for the same parameters. The format of the data also limits their use for statistical analysis. Finally there is institutional reluctance to share valuable data.
Data were generally in a raw and disorganized state, not detailed nor validated and they were fragmented in terms of type and storage. It was also difficult to identify persons responsible for data maintenance.
To solve some of the problems identified above, it is proposed that a central depository for all data should be created and maintained in one location and an operator should be assigned specific responsibilities to maintain the database. Data should also be standardised and a coherent network should be maintained among users and providers of data.
The validity of the data should also be tested through appropriate field research.
The full report is available at: http://www.tidco.co.tt/uwigeospatial/Grenada/home.htm .