THA Secretary of Food Production, Forestry and Fisheries Hayden Spencer is welcoming the Government’s allocation of $20 million for access roads for farmers.
Minister of Finance Colm Imbert, in his mid-year review of the 2018 budget in the Parliament said THA will receive $20 million to fund the expansion of the agricultural access roads programme.
Spencer, speaking with Newsday Tobago by pphone on Thursday, said the funding is necessary.
“I welcome the assistance because the drive that we are after in Tobago is for the increase of food production and the transformation of the agricultural sector into a vibrant economic sector. One of the things that we need to do is to have vehicular access to these state lands and private lands that we have where the roads are not passable for vehicles, so access roads are very important for the drive.
"It is a great initiative, we welcome it in Tobago, we welcome it in the Tobago House of Assembly and surely, we welcome it in the Division, we need that boost,” he said.
He said before the announcement a list was submitted to the Government.
“So now we want to do the procurement process. It is my intention to address the media when we have completed the entire procurement process on these roads that we would have identified that are needed to be treated with immediately for that sum of money, so we are still working on that,” Spencer said.
In a post-Executive Council media briefing in March, Spencer announced that the Executive Council had approved a team to revitalise the agricultural sector in Tobago.
Asked for an update, he said a number of initiatives had already been explored.
“A number of the initiatives and programmes that we are seeing now happening, including this request for funds for access roads, all these are out of the agricultural revitalisation plan.
"Currently, the agricultural sector in Tobago is growing, so we just need to beef it up some more, get some more young farmers involved in agriculture, the young farmers that are now been trained – we are hoping to give them access to state lands so that they can continue. We are hoping to take some of them and form them into co-operatives. They are currently doing that training so that they can do agro-processing, so we are really looking at the entire value chain,” he said.