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$20m to help compensate farmers losses

By Sue-Ann Wayow sue-ann.wayow@trinidadexpress.com

ALMOST $20 million is being spent by the State to compensate farmers for loss of produce and to encourage further agricultural development.

Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj said on Wednesday that 1,620 cheques for incentives and flood relief will be distributed to farmers and fishermen.

He was speaking at a ceremony to distribute 986 incentive cheques and 23 flood claim cheques. Those cheques were included in the 1,620 figure, he said.

The function was held at the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (Namdevco) office in Debe.

The cheques were distributed to people in the counties of Victoria, Mayaro, Nariva and St Patrick.

Since the Agricultural Incentive Programme was revised, Maharaj said there was more interest shown in the sector.

He said: “We have seen the number of applicants to the Agricultural Incentive Programme expand exponentially since its revision, and this surely indicates the new and renewed interest in the agriculture sector.”

The main goal of the revised Agricultural Incentive Programme is to stimulate the productivity, competitiveness and sustainability of the agriculture and fisheries sector, Maharaj said.

Under the programme, there are incentives to encourage youths in agriculture, increase level of mechanisation, facilitate year-round agricultural activities such as the promotion of on-farm irrigation systems, establish protected agricultural systems, improve husbandry practices and pasture management for increased productivity in the livestock sub-sector, support the sustainable management of fishing operations, encourage new investment  and support the establishment of post harvest facilities, he said.

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