‘Food Production Ministry not competing, but assisting farmers’
PROGRAMMES within the Ministry of Food Production were developed with the objective of increasing local food production and achieving food sovereignty, but not at the expense of local farmers.
This was stated by the ministry in a media release on Wednesday after claims by one farmer in the Brasso Venado community that “mega farms”, under the ministry’s Commercial Large Farms Programme, were competing with the livelihood of farmers.
In the release, the ministry disputed the claims made by Simboonath Ramrattan, stating that all programmes within the ministry were “developed with the aim of improving the livelihood of our farming communities”.
It added that the farms referred to by Ramrattan were not under the Commercial Large Farms Programme, but instead the recently-launched Caroni GREEN Initiative.
“The Commercial Large Farms Programme seeks to increase production to supplement the needs of the agro-processing industries, thus they are not aimed at supplying or competing with farmers at the local markets.
“The Caroni GREEN Initiative also aims to boost food production by utilising the mass of idle agricultural lands distributed to former Caroni workers.
In light of the fact that many of the former Caroni workers who obtained these agricultural land leases are not able/interested in farming, Caroni 1975 Ltd developed the aforementioned GREEN Initiative programme to provide farmers who have no land tenure with an opportunity to farm these lands in an effort to increase food production,” the release stated.
It added that increasing food production would benefit the society in several ways, including a reduction in food importation which in turn could lead to revenue “that can be utilised for other societal needs”.