Agriculture Minister Congratulates Cacao of Excellence Awardees

May 16, 2024:-  Couva, Trinidad and Tobago – Yesterday (Wednesday 15th May, 2024) Senator the Honourable Kazim Hosein, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, presented special awards to cocoa farmers in recognition of their achievements at the 2023 Cacao of Excellence Awards held earlier this year in Amsterdam.

During his address, Minister Hosein highlighted, “Today, as we celebrate our local heroes of the cocoa industry, we recognize not just their achievements but the enduring spirit of perseverance that has thrust Trinidad and Tobago onto the global stage once again. Our farmers’ success at the international level reinforces our commitment to supporting this vital sector.” He further commended the efforts of the three (3) awardees; Mr. Shankar Teelucksingh, Ms. Doolarie Ramdath and Ms. Stephanie Omardeen, saying that these awards have placed our small island nation on the map for cocoa and for this, we should be immensely proud. Farmers and stakeholders from the cocoa industry also had the opportunity to partake in a tasting of chocolates made from cocoa produced by the award winners.

Also in attendance were Senator the Honourable Avinash Singh, Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, His Excellency Matsubara Yutaka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan, His Excellency Peter Cavendish, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Delegation of the European Union, Mr. Zhou Lichun, Councillor of the Chinese Embassy, representing the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Professor Pathmanathan Umaharan, Director of the Cocoa Research Centre, UWI; and key stakeholders from the Cocoa sector.

Professor Pathmanathan Umaharan, Director of Cocoa Research Centre at the U.W.I in St. Augustine in his remarks stated, “The flavour reputation of our cocoa provides us the opportunity to build cocoa as an economic diversification option but as stakeholders, we must work together to make every part of the cocoa value chain sustainable.” Also commenting on the future of the cocoa industry were the Ambassadors of Japan and the European Union who both underscored the potential for further international collaboration and grant funding opportunities. They encouraged Trinidadian farmers to leverage new opportunities for market expansion and sustainable development within their respective countries.

In closing, Minister Hosein expressed, “Sincere gratitude to all our international partners and ambassadors present today. Your support has been instrumental. Today’s ceremony was not just a celebration of the recent wins in Amsterdam but also a reaffirmation of Trinidad and Tobago’s leading position in the production of fine/flavour cocoa”.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries remains committed to supporting all farmers and stakeholders across the cocoa industry.

 

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(From Left to Right) Mr. Shankar Teelucksingh, Ms. Doolarie Ramdath and Mr. Matthew Escalante (Collecting on behalf of Stephanie Omardeen) – Silver Award Winners at the 2023 Cacao of Excellence

 

 


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