Jun 7, 2010

Food security, critical importance


Over 30 farmers from different farmers associations met on the weekend with Minister of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs, Vasant Bharath, to discuss a variety of issues the farmers encounter daily.

The meeting was held at the PCU Conference Room, Ministry’s Head Office, Serpertine Road, St Clair. Farmers came from various associations including the Livestock Association, Beekeepers Association, Ricegrowers Association, Citrus Growers Association and South Cocoa Farmers Association.

Farmers described the meeting, that lasted approximately two hours, as productive. One by one they were able to express their concerns to the minister. Leading the discussion, on behalf of the associations, was president of the Cunupia Farmers Association, Anil Ramnarine.

Amongst the issues discussed were the high cost of fertilisers and insecticides, lack of water reserves, poor infrastructure (roads), lack of labour on farms, poor security in markets and lack of capital.

“The cost of fertilisers and insecticides are too high, one farmer lamented, we have to pay $600 dollars a bag of salts, which is hard.” Another farmer stated that there was a scarcity of labour on farms because a decent remuneration package is not guaranteed."
via www.newsday.co.tt

This is simply a case of getting our priorities right. Every nation need to be able to grow enough food to feed the population if  you want to achieve true first world status. No nation dependent on foreign sources of food staples can truly consider itself independent. 
Not everything could and will be grown at home and food will have to be sourced and purchased on the World markets. However food that can be grown at home should be aggressively cultivated and harvested to feed a growing nation. 
Support for the farming community is very important and this government has already given hope to the farmers with the promise of compensation for lost crops because of the drought, flooding and insect infestation.  Access roads and supplies to produce crops are necessary for success - this government seem to be fast tracking on the correct path to success. A true partnership with the people will reap the rewards that we seek and will ensure that our nation succeeds in providing the essentials needed for existence. I like what I have seen and wish the new governments success in all their endeavors. 

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