Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat said that citizens must make a decision between locally produced fruits and vegetables and imported goods. Rambharat made the statement yesterday while answering questions from media, after delivering his feature address at the closing ceremony of the Technical Cooperation Project for Latin America and the Caribbean.
He said that in light of declining oil and gas prices, agriculture remains a viable means of revenue and urged citizens to support local farmers however they can.
"Trinidadians and Tobagonians need to make a decision as to whether they want to support local farmers or whether they want to support people growing fruits and vegetables in countries that they don’t know and they don’t see the production or the farmers."
Rambharat added while the economic downturn has affected everyone, the Ministry continues to work closely with farmers to ensure optimal value for products productivity at a price everyone can afford.
"You will go to all the markets and see that there is fresh fruit and vegetables available for sale are zero rated, which means that its not trapped in Value Added Tax (VAT). The prices that we are able to work with farmers to keep the prices at the level that consumers can buy."
Asked what his expectations were for the mid year budget, he said that he was not at liberty to divulge what specific requests were made, but said that he was prepared to work with whatever allocated to him, for the betterment of farmers.
"As I’ve said before and I say it again, whatever is provided to the Ministry of Agriculture we will use it to further the interest of the farmers. I wouldn’t be able to say specifically what was requested. We will continue to work with farmers across the country."