Livestock farmers are now being forced to pay as much as $30 more for animal feed.
Shiraz Khan, president of the Sheep and Goat Farmers Association and Trinidad United Farmers' Association, said yesterday dozens of farmers were already facing bankruptcy and were now being forced to sell out their livestock to butchers just to feed their families.
Khan, speaking at a media conference at Communication Workers Union (CWU) hall on Henry Street, Port of Spain, said last week Monday National Flour Mills (NFM) hiked the feed prices without any notice to farmers.
"We are already faced with a depleting dairy sector, we had so many years of neglect in the sector that we are continuing to lose farmers and lose production," Khan said.
He said the farmers braced for increases because of the way the country "was going", but questioned why they were not informed of the new price hike before it was implemented.
"It should not be done like that and farmers should be paid more respect than presently."
Khan said if the prices were not subsidised, the farmers would not be able to survive.
"The subsidy is not coming to the farmers, it's too long this nonsense going on and we farmers are suffering," he said.
"We have been complaining about the problems that the livestock centre faces in terms of the cost of production of milk."
Khan said in the past year, farmers faced three increases already.
"We had three increases at $10 intervals, so for this year we already paying $30 more for feed. We are expecting increases, but not like this."
Khan said it was the farmers alone who bore the brunt of this increase, as their buyer, Nestle Trinidad, paid a blanket price for the raw material.
He said as milk was not sold to retailers, farmers could not control the pricing and were forced to settle with the price offered by the wholesale buyer.
"You are sacrificing the livestock farmers by increasing the price of ruminant feed. We are calling on the Minister of Finance to have an urgent meeting with us to explain to us how this could be taking place."