Food $$ too high
Thursday, August 2 2012
FOOD Production Minister Devant Maharaj is assuring that steps are being taken to curb the rise in food prices especially as the Supermar-kets Association of Trinidad and Tobago has warned of such a rise in light of prolonged drought in areas of the United States which grows such staples as corn and wheat.
One such step according to the Minister is seeking to reduce the cost of livestock feed for local farmers.
Minister Bharath told Newsday that over the past few weeks officials from his Ministry have hosted stakeholder consultations as well as meetings with core staff, various representative associations and regional and international agencies engaged in the domestic economy.
“These were not limited to FAO, IICA, NAMDEVCO, SIDC, Sugarcane Feed Centre, TT Sheep and Goat Association and the Cunupia Farmers Association. One of the key suggestions is to fast-track the Mon Jaloux Forage Development Centre in an effort to reduce the cost of feed for the livestock and small ruminant industries,” Maharaj said.
This facility was launched last week Friday. Minister Maharaj added that discussions are ongoing to find the best way forward with other initiatives proposed. With respect to feed for poultry, the Minister said while a lot of producers prefer to sell corn for consumption as compared to feed, the ministry will be seeking continued dialogue with the TT Poultry Association on the way forward.
Minister Maharaj said his Ministry would like to allay all fears that the Government may not act in time to curtail the rise in food prices as predicted by the Supermarkets Association of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Minister is insisting that a “national concerted effort is needed to redirect our focus into import-substitution strategies and therefore act in the best interest of the welfare of our citizenry. This would ensure that we could properly shield against any negative impact that may arise from imported inflation”.
The Minister assured that the Ministry of Food Production is supportive of the local agricultural sector in keeping with its key mandates to reduce inflation fuelled by food prices as well as to reduce the country’s food import bill.