July 05, 2023:- On Wednesday, 4th July 2023, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land, and Fisheries (MALF) distributed approximately 200,000 lbs of high-yielding, disease-resistant rice seeds to farmers. This initiative came to fruition following discussions between Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, on collaborative efforts to improve food security. The seeds were purchased by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, generously supplied by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), and distributed to thirty (30) farmers at the National Seed Bank in Chaguaramas.
This Rice Distribution project was developed under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago in July 2022. The MOU identified eight (8) areas for collaboration, including Rice, Aquaculture, Livestock Production, and Coconut. Senator the Honourable Kazim Hosein, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, praised the initiative as a testament to CARICOM member states to assist in reducing the food import bill by 25 % by 2025. “This project was born from a CARICOM Initiative to strengthen food and nutrition security within the region, the fact that this initiative aligned perfectly with this anniversary suggests some form of providence, and I remain confident that we will successfully revitalize the sector.”
During his contribution, Senator Hosein thanked his counterpart in Guyana, the Honourable Mustapha Zulfikar, for his unwavering support of this initiative.
Minister Hosein described the event as “a significant milestone in our journey to revitalizing and modernizing the rice industry. ” He further added that the distribution of rice seeds was part of a transformative project that would shape the future of our nation’s food security, “By revitalizing and modernizing our rice industry, we are strengthening our domestic agricultural sector, reducing our reliance on international markets, and enhancing our ability to feed our nation.”
Earlier this year, Minister Hosein met with stakeholders of the local rice industry and committed over five million dollars ($5Mn) for Phase One of the revitalization and modernization of the rice sector.
Also attending the ceremony was Mr. Nigel Grimes, Technical Advisor at MALF, who expressed optimism about the potential impact of the distributed rice seeds. “These rice seeds we received are expected to significantly boost the local rice yield by 30-35%, resulting in a substantial increase in production.”
In closing, the Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land, and Fisheries, Senator the Honourable Avinash Singh, expressed heartfelt gratitude to farmers saying, “Your support and collaboration are vital as we strive to transform our local rice industry into a thriving sector that contributes to our nation’s food security.”
The Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries remains committed to driving the growth and sustainability of the local rice industry. Through collaborations with stakeholders and leveraging strategic partnerships, MALF aims to create a vibrant future for Trinidad and Tobago’s agricultural sector.