March 07, 2023: On the eve of International Women’s Day, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF) recognizes the contribution of Ms. Ramraje Ramsawak, a 103-year-old female farmer in South Trinidad. Ramsawak is the eldest market vendor in Trinidad and Tobago who continues to toil her lands daily, providing fresh produce for sale at the Southern Wholesale Market in Debe.
Senator the Honourable Kazim Hosein, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries and a team of officials from the Ministry visited Ramsawak at her home, earlier this morning (Tuesday 7th March 2023).
During the visit, Ramsawak shared stories about her life, travels, children, and love for agriculture, saying her “time on the land provides her with independence and freedom.” Minister Hosein describes Ramsawak as an inspiration to all: “Tomorrow, the world commemorates International Women’s Day. A day set aside to celebrate the achievements of women while making a worldwide call to action to strengthen efforts for supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. What better way to recognize this day than with a woman who embodies the qualities of strength and resilience.”
“Agriculture is an important engine of growth and poverty reduction; women are the backbone of all sectors, and agriculture is no different. Ramraje is an example of the strength of a woman who is determined to write her own story and live by her own rules, a story of power over adversity and one of independence,” he added.
During the visit, Ramsawak generously shared her secrets to a long and vibrant life, saying she believes in charity, humility, and a daily dose of sweets to satisfy her sweet tooth. As a devout Hindu, the 103-year-old farmer, recounted her life-changing encounter with Sai Baba in India; she described that meeting as a pivotal moment in her life, embracing the concepts of service to mankind.
Minister Hosein commended Ramsawak on her determination and quick wits, admiring the fact that she rises at 2:00 am to prepare for her daily chores, which include cooking, cleaning and her market duties.
Officials from the Ministry presented her with a plaque recognizing her long-standing service and dedication to the sector and several food hampers. Minister Hosein hopes Ramraje’s story will be a beacon of hope to other women to view agriculture as a viable career option.
“There are a number of training courses we continue to offer at the Ministry to assist women in Agriculture through the Extension Training & Information Services Division. There is also the Agricultural Incentive Programme, which is available to all citizens. There are many options available in this sector, and I hope to see more and more women occupy positions along the value chain.”
Also accompanying the Minister was Mrs. Coomarie Goolabsingh, Permanent Secretary (Ag.) and Mrs. Nela Dwarika-Ali, Deputy Permanent Secretary.