Trinidad and Tobago continues to discuss whether it makes economic sense to take up Guyana’s offer of land for agricultural development.
Guyana’s offer to the ‘twin island republic’ dates back to 2013 and was discussed last Wednesday when a delegation led by Prime Minister Keith Rowley met with President David Granger and other Government officials at State House.
Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Trinidad and Tobago, Clarence Rambharat said the two sides discussed using lands in Guyana for cultivation of animal feed, such as soy.
“It was something that was discussed a long time, but of course, it was challenged by the fact that the people who consume the most amount of feed in Trinidad and in Guyana have long term supply contracts out of the United States,” Rambharat explained.
He stated that Trinidad will have to explore how competitive they can be in providing animal feed and competing with extra-regional suppliers.
“The price is fixed, it’s reliable and they [suppliers] have been doing it for a long time,” Rambharat stated.
Under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government, Guyana and Trinidad signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Guyana committed to making available some 10,000 acres of land in Berbice to Trinidad farmers. Additionally, there was an offer for 90,000 acres of land made available to T&T for private-sector investment in agricultural production.
Under the current Coalition administration, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder has maintained that the offer remains on the table, but is awaiting a positive response from his Trinidadian counterpart.
When the offer was announced in Trinidad, there was opposition from farmers there.
The National Foodcrop Farmers’ Association (NFFA) protested the signing of the MoU on the basis that there was underutilization of arable land in Trinidad.
The Agricultural Society of T&T had also stated that the decision was not properly thought out.
Guyana and Trinidad are finding other areas in agriculture to cooperate. The two countries have discussed the possibility of live animals from Guyana entering the Trinidad market.
However, Guyana producers continue to complain about barriers to trade with Trinidad preventing transshipment of honey that is destined for other markets. Trinidad has been reluctant to allow foreign produced honey close to it shores, while citing an archaic law.
There are talks of re-examining the laws to allow for transshipment of honey only.
Rambharat told reporters that Trinidad is interested in learning from Guyana’s expertise in water resource management such as flooding. He said both countries have looked at infusing technology in agriculture.
Oct 16, 2018By Sean Devers in Trinidad In association with Regal, Vnet, Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel In murky conditions and played before virtually empty stands, Guyana Jaguars, led by a 79-run...
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