T&T Minister here for food production talks

Government officials of Trinidad and Tobago led by Minister of Food Production,  Devant Maharaj yesterday met President Donald Ramotar on the offer made in the Jagdeo Initiative on Agriculture to make land available here for food production, the Government Information Agency reported.

GINA said that Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud joined the meeting at the Office of the President.

Another meeting is scheduled for today where discussions will “zero in on synergies that Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago can take advantage of like agro-processing”,  Maharaj told GINA.

Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Food Production, Devant Maharaj (fourth from left) and a team from his Ministry with President Donald Ramotar (third from right), Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy (third from left) and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud, (second from left)

Maharaj was accompanied by Director of Agriculture Planning Matthew Lee, Programme Coordinator Nigel Grimes and Deputy Permanent Secretary Myrna Thompson, all in the Ministry of Food Production.

Last month, Trinidad Minister of Finance, Larry Howai said that Trinidad’s Ministry of Food Production is moving to establish a Food Security Facility with the Government of Guyana.

He was delivering the 2013 Trinidad and Tobago national budget in that country’s Parliament. Howai said that this facility is necessary because land is becoming less and less available in Trinidad and Tobago.

“The Facility would commit both Governments to expanding agricultural production in Guyana through the establishment of commercial relationships for funding the establishment of several large agricultural estates in Guyana,” he said.

Calling agriculture one of the areas of focus of the budget, Howai said that Trinidad proposes to reduce its food import bill by 50 percent or just over TT$2.0 billion per year by 2015.

Critics of the government here have said that while Trinidad and other Caricom countries are moving aggressively to lower their food import bills Guyana is lagging far behind. Despite a hyped up and costly Grow More Food campaign, critics say the government here has little to show for it by way of expanded agricultural exports and a lower food import bill.

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