Guyana Agri team to visit TT

Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy and T&T's Agriculture Minister, Devant Maharaj during a visit to Guyana. [iNews' Photo]

[] – Agricultural experts from Guyana’s Agriculture Ministry are expected to arrive in Trinidad next Friday to discuss plans to allocate land in the South American country to local farmers, Food Production Minister DevantMaharaj disclosed yesterday.

Maharaj said the experts will review the results of soil sample tests conducted on land in Guyana which have been identified for use by local farmers.

This follows the minister’s visit to the country last week , where he “confirmed which commodities would be grown on the 10,000 acres of land in Guyana to help reduce our food import bill.”

Speaking with Newsday from Suriname yesterday, where he was on official business, Maharaj said he had confirmed that corn, soya and sorghum would be grown on some of the land to produce animal feed stock for TT’s farmers.

Some of the remaining land would be used to grow root crops and legumes, which, he said, “we currently import from outside the region.” In order to import these plants and animals to TT, there needs to be a common set of phytosanitary measures, which the minister said would be discussed by the technical teams “the Friday after their initial meeting to review the soil sample tests.”

Once everything is in place, the Food Production Ministry will publish advertisements inviting Expressions of Interest (EOI) from persons who would like to set up farms in Guyana, under the Memorandum of Understanding aimed at reducing this country’s food import bill.

“Based on the number of requests I get for large tracts of land,” Maharaj told Newsday, “I fully expect that EOI to be well-received. The next step would be to put out an RFP (request for proposal) and from there, to sign individual agreements with qualified persons for those lands in Guyana.”

If there are no “hiccups,” the minister said he expects to begin signing farming agreements by March 2014, “if not sooner.”

Lands have been identified in the Canjie Basin of Region 6 for the Trinidad investors.[Trinidad News Day]



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