Most vegetable and poultry farmers have felt the financial pinch caused by the closure of businesses due to covid19 restrictions. One farmer, however, isn't crying just yet.
Brian Maturine 35, has been a farmer for 20 years and in the poultry business for three years. Prior to that, he reared pigs, which he still does.
Maturine was busy tending to his farming duties when Newsday visited him at his Maturine & Sons Farm at Block 3, Tractor Pool Road in Wallerfield on April 9. His son, Mosiah, was also there with other workers.
When asked if the closure of major food businesses owing to government's stay-at-home measures had affected his output negatively, Maturine was very optimistic.
He said, "This is my first batch of chickens since covid19 started about a month ago. But I contacted the mill and they said business is running as usual.
"The country imports plenty, so the local farmers can handle the market. The government could make a bigger move towards farming. With good management, the government could make that happen. They already know the system. Just have accountability."
Maturine believes government should be able to absorb most of the produce that farmers have and distribute it locally or internationally as they see fit.
"At maximum capacity, I can rear about 11,000 chickens. I can do more but I'll need financing for that. Before, when a farmer had his goods ready for market, the government would take all. They should go back to that."
Maturine said he was hoping to do more than just produce food for sale.
"I was speaking to a friend last week, and we were thinking about planting some crops and giving it to the School Feeding Programme. That would be our contribution to the society as a farmer."
While many parts of the country have been experiencing dry taps as is the norm at this time of year, Maturine said farms in his area had enough water.
"We have an adequate supply in this farming area. The only issue we have, is when a main water line bursts, well...we have to wait on WASA to come and fix it"
Speaking more about his business, Maturine said, "I also plant dasheen bush and dasheen. On Saturdays and Sundays I sell pork in the Port of Spain market.
"The pork industry is just like the chicken industry. A farmer cannot mind 100 pigs and it's ready for market and you're selling ten a week. Before, the government would take all off your hands.
Maturine also sells pork produced by other farmers.
"I sell my pork at 25 dollars a pound and do business with the farmers. I also buy the meat from other farmers, butcher it at the Port of Spain Abattoir and sell in Port of Spain market."
Maturine took time out to praise the Shanghai Construction Group (SCG). The Chinese-based construction firm is and has been involved in several major government projects in TT.
"I've been dealing with SCG for a long time. One thing about them is that they buy all their market produce and meats locally."
Maturine plans to open a meat shop eventually but one problem persists.
"I told my son that we have to open a meat shop as that is where the money is, but securing a place is difficult. You don't want to start paying rent and then the landlord, after two years, wants their space back. So the only alternative is to purchase, and securing a mortgage is difficult."