T&T exploring planting large agricultural estates in Guyana

Andy Narell & Relator- University of Calypso

Trinidad and Tobago exploring planting large agricultural estates in Guyana

Written by Demerara Waves
Monday, 05 November 2012 15:42

Devant Maharaj

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN).-Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj is expected to take a delegation from his ministry to Guyana to work out details of setting up a food security facility in that country.

This depends on the approval of a cabinet note. In a telephone interview yesterday, Maharaj said he had spoken to the Ministers of Agriculture and Land Resources in Guyana and they had indicated they could meet with the T&T delegation during the week of Divali.

“The delegation includes myself, the permanent secretary and other technocrats from the ministry,” said Maharaj. The deal with the Guyanese Government would allow T&T access to land in that country for food production. It was announced by Finance Minister Larry Howai during the reading of the budget in October.

“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,” Howai had said. Maharaj said the agreement was part of an initiative launched in 2005 by then president Bharrat Jagdeo.

The initiative was intended to help decrease the total import bill for Caricom’s 15 member states. The bill stands at US$4 billion. Maharaj said food security was more important now than ever. “We are looking at items that we import in substantial amounts so that we may bring down the food import bill,” Maharaj said.

He said though he could not give more details but meat was one of the products the ministry was considering for the Guyanese facility. Maharaj added that the production of rice, which contributed substantially to this country’s import bill had increased.

Earlier this year, the Government set a target year of 2015 for the food import bill to be cut by 50 per cent. T&T’s food import bill was TT$4 billion at the end of 2011 and Maharaj said his ministry was committed to reducing the figure



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