Agriculture Minister: Seizure of illegal honey part of Government’s approach to safeguarding public health and agricultural sustainability
April 10, 2023:- The Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Senator the Honourable Kazim Hosein, commends the recent seizure of a large quantity of illegal honey by the Customs and Excise Division and says that such action by the State’s border control was part of the Government’s multi-pronged effort at ensuring that unsafe, illegal imports are neither consumed by the public nor result in any outbreak of disease.
Minister Hosein said that the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries – through regulated systems – controls agricultural products entering and leaving the country at the air and sea ports with the aim of preventing the entry of pest and diseases of plant and plant products, animal and animal products, fisheries, forest plant /products and wildlife. He said: “The introduction of pests and diseases threaten economic growth, food security and ecosystems as well as port and maritime security and measures must be taken to safeguard the sector against illegal imports.”
He said too that illegal trade negatively impacted the agriculture sector and should be discouraged at all costs. “The illegal trade of agricultural products affects our local producers through unfair pricing systems as these tend to be sold below market price, thereby creating an economic disadvantage. Added to this is the likelihood that such trade can impede our brand reputation for certain agricultural products (niche markets) and consequently, the country’s export revenue”, Minister Hosein said.
The Minister takes this opportunity to remind the public of the need to exercise due diligence when purchasing honey by ensuring that each product is appropriately labeled (with the Apiarist’s unique number affixed to each bottle) and that the importation of honey is prohibited.
Citizens are encouraged to report any information of illegal entry of honey and plant products in Trinidad and Tobago, to the Ministry’s Inspector of Apiaries at 662-4479 and the Plant Quarantine Unit at 280-7938, respectively.