31 farmers share $3m in grants

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Kazim Hosein. – File photo

THE Agriculture Ministry on May 27 distributed over $3 million in agro-incentive grants to 31 farmers.

Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF) Kazim Hosein told those present at a ceremony at the Ministry’s Head Office in Chaguanas, “Throughout our proceedings today, you will all recognise that the MALF is not just funding projects. We are investing in the potential of our land, the ingenuity of our people, and the health of our nation.”

Hosein said there are broader economic implications of the grant, noting that it extends far beyond immediate financial support.

“The Agro-Incentive Grant is a pivotal component of the Ministry’s vision for a modern, competitive, and sustainable agricultural sector. It symbolises the ministry’s commitment to fostering innovation, resilience, and sustainability within the agricultural community,” a news release from the ministry stated on May 28.

“By fostering a culture of innovation and efficiency, we are paving the way for Trinidad and Tobago to become a leader in the Caribbean’s agro-industry. This initiative is a cornerstone in our efforts to achieve food security, reduce our import bill, and open new avenues for export,” he said.

The release stated, “The 31 grant recipients represent a diverse cross-section of the agricultural sector, including small-scale farmers and large agribusinesses. The funds will be used for various innovative projects such as state-of-the-art irrigation systems, hydroponic systems, solar panel installations, shade houses, and farm improvements to meet Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) standards, investments in new breeding stock for livestock, and advanced fishing equipment.

It said the minister has been actively working to ensure that the administrative arm of the ministry becomes more accessible and treats farmers and fisherfolk with the dignity and respect they deserve “given their profound responsibility.”

Hosein said the Agricultural Incentive Programme (AIP) offers cash rebates and exemptions in 92 categories to support diverse agricultural needs.

Eligible registered farmers and fisherfolk can benefit from incentives for vehicle purchases, integrated pest management systems, and advancements in livestock, tree crops and agro-processing.

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister – Communications Symon De Nobriga urged farmers to seize the opportunities before them,

“Today’s ceremony highlights just how important our farmers are to our future. It’s essential for our agricultural community to take advantage of the opportunities and grants being provided and actively seek ways to innovate and grow,” he said.

And in his closing remarks, Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Avinash Singh reassured the farmers that the ministry remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting the agricultural community and looks forward to continuing to work together to build a resilient, innovative, and sustainable agricultural sector.