Take back Caroni lands that are lying fallow and use them to produce food, says Independent Senator Subhas Ramkhelawan.
Speaking during the budget debate at the Senate sitting yesterday, Ramkhelawan said in the national budget, some $1.3 billion was allocated toward agriculture.
He noted that since the closure of Caroni (1975) Ltd, there were close to 50,000 acres of land in the country that were not being used to produce food.
Ramkhelawan questioned the Government’s priority in placing emphasis in partnering with Guyana for food production, when thousands of acres of land in this country were not being placed in production.
He said through VSEP packages, some 20,319 acres of lands were leased. “How much of that land, 20,319 acres is now under production? That is the crux of the situation,” said Ramkhelawan. “If it is not under production, take back that land and make it useful, long before you decide to go to Guyana and long before you decide to go on other escapades, make sure we get this land under production.”
He added: “Food grown in any other country cannot be counted as part of your production for food security purposes. Make sure that you populate those lands in Trinidad and Tobago that currently lie fallow in a way that enhances the production of food in this country.”
He said further: “When you do the calculations Mr President, some 47,000 acres of the 76,000 acres of Caroni land are out there in the hands of the ministry and other persons for agricultural production. How much of it is under agricultural production?”
Ramkhelawan said it was a travesty that this country, with a 1.3 million population, had 50,000 acres of land not being used toward producing food.