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Friday 15 December 2017
Politics

Minister: $1B for agriculture

Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Minister Clarence Rambharat yesterday said his Ministry’s allocation in the 2018 Budget was over one billion dollars and not $544 million as stated by Finance Minister Colm Imbert in the Budget presentation on Monday.

Rambharat spoke yesterday at the re-commissioning ceremony of the Orange Valley Wholesale Fish Market at Bay Road in Couva. The refurbishment work, which started months ago, cost $1.75 million.

He explained that allocation articulated by Imbert is recurrent expenditure that comes out of the consolidated fund.

He said the budget for his Ministry is broken up onto different areas. He said transfers made to the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (Namdevco), the Agricultural Society and other agencies, amount to $791 million.

Additionally, the Ministry has a programme which deals with reforestation which employs 2,225 through 60 contractors and has a budget allocation of $92 million.

“We also have two major projects that are not in the budget of the ministry but is funded elsewhere. The Agro-processing and Light Industrial Park in Moruga has a $90 million allocation which is in the hands of eTecK. There is a $30 million allocation for the Moruga Fish Facility which is in the hands of Udecott. When you add those, we are at one billion dollars,” Rambharat said.

This figure increases with the allocation of one of its agencies - the Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP). “We still have to factor in the one-third share of CEPEP that the ministry is going to get.

So whatever figure is announced to CEPEP, the Ministry gets one-third of that and that will be a minimum of $100 million. In the budget debate I will speak more about CEPEP,” he assured.

In delivering the feature address yesterday, the Minister recalled that on September 21, President Anthony Carmona transferred the Palo Seco Agricultural Enterprise Limited (PSAEL) to his ministry.

“That also brings to the Ministry addition resources.

The most important resource that PSAEL brings is the oil and sand pit. It will be put to good use to the farmers in the country many of whom said to me they just want to fix the pot holes,” Rambharath added.

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