Agriculture Minister: State Land Leases for Bonafide Wallerfield Farmers
The Government remains resolute in ensuring that the “real farmers” acquire long-term State leases for agricultural parcels that are not currently in productive use. Such was the revelation of the Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat on Tuesday 26th October, 2021, as he spoke to recipients at a Lease Letter Distribution Ceremony which took place at his Ministry’s Chaguanas Head Office.
In his address, he identified particularly with those State agricultural parcels in the Wallerfield area which he said, were being cultivated by farmers and despite their productive operations they were unable to make long-term investments in respect to the land because they are not a legal party to the land tenancy arrangement contracted with the State. This he said was untenable, as other persons who own the land were reaping the rewards of their hard work. Minister Rambharat added, that the Ministry will be taking decisive action in the Wallerfield area so as to ensure that these bonafide farmers have land that they can acquire a long-term lease for.
On the issue of agricultural State lands, Minister Rambharat noted that there have been an increasing number of requests for the sub-division of these parcels, a measure which he was reluctant to comply with, except for “extreme circumstances”. The Minister was adamant in the preservation of a longstanding principle that State land for agricultural purposes, not be subdivided. He further explained: “Agricultural plots were designed for the family to be able to work it and derive a certain level of income from it so when you start breaking it down to one (1)-acre parcels, everybody will want to build a house on them and then only a little piece will remain for a kitchen garden and these agricultural plots were not designed for kitchen gardens.”
The Minister also indicated that the Ministry was “on high alert” when it came to State land fraud and other illegalities. To this end he said that in the past few days, he has had to treat with two (2) respective matters which he revealed shall be reported to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, for further investigation.
At today’s event, twelve (12) persons received lease letters in respect to agricultural parcels. The letters convey Cabinet’s approval to grant a Standard Agricultural Lease for an initial period of thirty (30) years and affords them the privilege of accessing financial institutions and State entities in respect to the conduct of legitimate business transactions on their respective parcels.