Relief for farmers tops agenda | The Trinidad Guardian

Compensation for farmers affected by floods will be the first issue Minister of Food Production Vasant Bharath addresses tomorrow morning. The former St Augustine MP said the system used to determine compensation for farmers dated back to 1976 and had to be revised. Bharath was sworn in as Minister of Food Production during Friday’s swearing-in of a new Cabinet under the People’s Partnership. He said he was excited about his new role and admitted there was much work to be done since the Ministry of Agriculture had been a neglected ministry under the past administrations. Under the People’s Partnership Government, the ministry has been renamed the Ministry of Food Production.
I always felt that not enough emphasis was placed on food production. It is my hope that this new government would provided the change that is needed to ensure that we can maximize our ability to produce food locally instead of having to depend on imports. Of course there will be a need to import certain items but we must also understand that if we have the ability to decrease this demand for imported food items we should make every effort to achieve that goal. 
It should start with providing the farmers with good access roads, water for the plants and fertilizer at reduced rates. It is a known fact that we have the people to produce the food and with some assistance from the government we can make a dent on the imported food bill.

Compensation for lost crops is a start because these farmers will need to regroup and start over - good financing is essential. The government seem to be saying the right thing thus far - let's see how plans are implemented to boot production.

The Ministry of Food Production as the name implies is a start in the right direction. It is indeed a shame that Caroni Limited was closed down by the previous government. We need to capitalize on the work done by Caroni and reintroduce some of the research that was done to boost food production via plants and animal production.

We need to assist the rice farmers to boost our rice production as well as ground provisions. We have to rethink the way we eat and go back to eating local. The fast food outlets that have flourished need to change their menus to utilize local foods thereby helping the farmers who produce these items. Fish farming is another area that needs to be investigated and go into production. Some have started but we need to have these farms in the same manner we have chicken farms. Tilapia production is not out of reach - yes we can do it. It can be done and with proper planning we will achieve the goal of feeding the nation.

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