The agricultural society “disappointed” by the budgetary measures

The president of the Agricultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago (ASTT) Darryl Rampersad said he was very disappointed with the agricultural measures proposed in the 2022 budget.

Rampersad said Loop news that he has taken note of the budget proposals and has several questions.

“They talked about $ 75 million for the development of access roads, but before that there would have been an allocation of $ 500 million. [in the previous budget] for the improvement of local agriculture, then why has it not been done?

“We are seeing that in some of the main plantation areas such as Plum Mitan, Tabaquite and so on, some of the bridges are on the verge of collapsing. The drainage works at Plum Mitan, Felicity, the main plantation areas have not received this attention and we have not seen this in terms of infrastructure development from that $ 500 million. “

“I hope this is not a budget of promises. The Agricultural Society is very disappointed because we did not receive any money for the grants for the project, so in terms of helping farmers, say, with the establishment of ponds or the repair of roads, we do not ‘received no subsidy. “

Rampersad acknowledged an increase in the prices of agricultural supplies such as urea, herbicides and other supplies, but said it was a global phenomenon caused by logistical problems caused by the COVID-pandemic. 19.

“We have seen that there has been an increase of up to 30 percent [for agricultural supplies]. But it’s a global thing, there’s not much we can do about it.

“But we would like to see more set up in terms of infrastructure development… the major problem persists in terms of land tenure.”

“We have seen farmers being kicked out of major planting areas such as Maloney, Felicity and other areas. We want to see that the timing of a lease is improved.

Rampersad said infrastructure development is also needed to withstand the effects of climate change.

He added that growing exports from the agricultural industry is also a priority.

“We have a lot of goods coming through CARICOM, but how many of our crops are exported to other islands? “

For the 2021 budget, agriculture saw a 70% increase over the previous year, totaling $ 1.1 billion, along with a $ 500 million stimulus package.

For the 2022 budget, the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries received $ 1.249 billion, with a $ 300 million stimulus package as well as a proposed $ 75 million project to develop roads agricultural access points in various agricultural areas of Trinidad.

These areas include: Matelot, Toco, Manzanilla, Sangre Grande, Talparo, Wallerfield, Maracas St. Joseph, Tunapuna, Orange Grove, Brasso Seco, Paria, Laundress, Lopinot and Paramin.

In addition, approximately $ 11 million has been committed to replace decades-old pumps and repair access roads in the Plum Mitan area.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert said more than $ 200 million in private sector investment has been invested in livestock and poultry production, including duck breeding and processing, animal husbandry and rabbit processing, hatcheries, greenhouses, agro-food processing, seafood processing and agro-food processing for export. markets.

With respect to the local food basket program, which consists of donations of locally produced vegetables to vulnerable families, the government has so far distributed around 185,000 parcels to people in 41 constituencies.

Food baskets were also distributed to several non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Amalia H. Mercado