Hosein: ‘We must increase local food production’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Minister Kazim Hosein (centre) – Photo by Grevic Alvarado

Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Minister Kazim Hosein said on Wednesday there is a need to increase local food production.

Hosein spoke at the launch of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) Seedling Boost initiative at its head office on Henry Street, Port of Spain.

He said: “There is an imminent need to increase local food production in light of the current covid19 pandemic and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, both of which have impacted the cost of agricultural inputs and have had a adverse effect on the price and availability of food.”

The event marked the ADB’s drive to encourage home gardening and thus promote food sustainability through distributing a variety of seedlings under the slogan “Grow stronger together.”

Lauding the initiative as one that will empower families and, by extension, communities to engage in primary agricultural production, Hosein also highlighted the important role home gardening played in giving households quality leisure time, a reduced household food bill and an alternative source of income.

He said: “A key element in our country’s diversification drive is the agriculture sector, along with the industries linked to it. The Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries continues to work hard to generate greater interest in the sector by attracting new entrants and supporting existing entrants as we work to integrate primary agricultural production into the daily lives of all citizens.”

Hoseis also added he was particularly encouraged to see the ADB, whose main function is to provide loans to agricultural actors, “get out of their comfort zone and go to the root of the problem” by facilitating primary production at the community level.

Similarly, praising the Seedling Drive initiative, he urged ADB management and staff to remain committed to selflessly meeting the needs of those whose production and livelihood depend on the quality and diversity of its service.

“When farmers and fishermen come to you for help, be patient and understanding. We are here to serve,” he said.

Hosein also said: “There is more joy in giving than receiving and I want to encourage ADB and corporate entities alike to continue to help young, future and veteran farmers access the services provided for agricultural development.”

Minister in the ministry Avinash Singh; permanent secretary Susan Shurland; the Prime Minister’s special adviser on agriculture, Dr John Alleyne; president of the ADB Sekou Mark; and its acting executive director Gleason Garraway were also at the event.