Earlier today, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries distributed over 1,000 coconut seedlings to farmers across the East Coast in Trinidad. This initiative forms part of the Ministry’s coconut rehabilitation and replanting development programme for this fiscal.
Delivering the feature address at the Distribution Ceremony at the Ministry’s Central Experimental Station in Centeno, Senator the Honourable Kazim Hosein, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, recognized the challenges and the untapped potential of the industry, saying “the sector could attract a significant amount of investment and foreign exchange into our country and thus lend itself as an essential player in the economic diversification thrust of Trinidad and Tobago”.
He said, “Since the 1990s, the demand for tender coconut water and other products, including soaps, lotions and coconut oil, has been phenomenal, resulting in significant price increases. In addition, coconut products are now regarded as beneficial to human health and well-being. So, a renewed interest in the cultivation of coconut will positively impact our country through economic, health and social benefits.” Minister Hosein described the exercise as a testament to the Government’s commitment to enhancing food security.
During his presentation, the Minister also revealed that technical teams of the Ministry have also been in talks with their counterparts in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. Trinidad and Tobago will receive 5,000 coconut seedlings from its South American CARICOM partner through the Guyana / Trinidad Food Development Plan. This initiative is expected to complement local efforts to bolster recovery and modernization efforts within the sector.
Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Mrs. Coomarie Goolabsingh commended the teams involved in this initiative, saying it goes beyond food security as coconut trees on the East Coast serve as our country’s first line of defence against high winds and storms coming inland from the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, she says this initiative will reduce the effects of coastal erosion due to climate change.
Also in attendance was the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry and Labour from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Honourable Saboto Scofield Caesar. Minister Caesar expressed his pleasure in being able to attend the event and reaffirmed his commitment to achieving food security across the region saying, “food must always be available, affordable and accessible”.
Present too at this distribution exercise were: the Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Senator the Honourable Avinash Singh; the Member of Parliament for Toco/Sangre Grande, Mr. Roger Munroe; representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries as well as our cherished, hardworking recipient farmers.