PM: Government to boost pineapple production

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at a PNM political meeting at Tropical Angel Harps panyard, Enterprise, Chaguanas. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

THE GOVERNMENT is seeking to boost domestic pineapple production.

The Prime Minister announced this at a PNM public meeting at Tropical Angel Harps panyard, Enterprise, Chaguanas on March 7.

In doing so, Dr Rowley said the Opposition UNC continues to obstruct the development of people in constituencies it represents in Parliament and national development as a whole.

Rowley reminded his audience of the opening of the Moruga Agro-Processing and Light Industrial Park in July 2020, during the covid19 pandemic.

He said one of the reasons for establishing this park was to tap into the agricultural potential of Moruga. The area is represented in Parliament by UNC Moruga/Tableland MP Michelle Benjamin.

Rowley, an agriculture minister in the 1991-1995 PNM administration, identified pineapple as one of the major crops grown in Moruga.

“Pineapple is their strength.”

To encourage the establishment of a pineapple processing factory at the plant, Rowley said a certain volume of plants must be provided to make such a facility sustainable.

“What the MP (Benjamin) should have been doing is to say to them (pineapple farmers in Moruga), ‘You know, we are importing millions of dollars in sliced pineapple into this country.'”

Rowley said many people do not know this.

He said conversations he has had with members of the private sector suggest a desire to use more local pineapple, but the volume is not sufficient to encourage sustainable domestic pineapple production.

Rowley had a message for Moruga pineapple farmers.

“While we don’t represent you in the Parliament, we representing you in the country and we are coming to you.

“We have spoken to our friends in Guyana, where they have lovely pineapple, and we are talking to the people in Moruga as well.”

Rowley said pineapple plants will be imported from Guyana and used with plants from Moruga.

“We will encourage more pineapple production in Moruga, so that at the end of it, we can have a pineapple-processing plant in the park, and then local pizza users will stop importing pineapple and use Moruga pineapple for the pizza in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Benjamin, he said, should be encouraging her constituents to get involved in productive ventures like this.

Rowley claimed Benjamin’s two achievements since being elected MP in August 2020 were burning tyres in the roads in Moruga/Tableland and filming misleading videos about the agro-processing park being useless.

He told his audience it is a well-known fact that sometimes the process for a farmer to move from generating fresh produce to agro-processing the same product can take time. He claimed these were not exercises that UNC MPs were interesting in doing to benefit their constituents.

“We leave all those useless, worthless MPs who only looking for a work and a salary behind.”