LOWER IMPORTS OF COMMODITIES DUE TO INCREASED AVAILABILITY OF LOCALLY PRODUCED FOOD
22nd August, 2013: Senator the Honourable Devant Maharaj, Minister of Food Production, is today thanking farmers, personnel of the Ministry of Food Production and other stakeholders for their continued efforts and support of the work of the Ministry, helping it to realize its goals of increasing food production and reducing inflation.
Minister Maharaj noted that the July 2013 Central Bank Report for the Agriculture Sector showed that there was increased availability of selected local commodities in 2013. For the first half of 2013, there was increased availability of local produce such as sweet potatoes (70.8 per cent), cucumbers (33.3 per cent), cassava (31.8 per cent) and watermelons (29.6 per cent) when compared with the same period a year earlier
Provisional information from Central Bank’s July 2013 Report also suggested lower imports of selected commodities due to the increased availability of local produce at wholesale markets. For example, imports of sweet potatoes, cabbages and tomatoes declined by 28.1 per cent, 14.2 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively in the first six months of 2013 when compared with the corresponding period in 2012.
It should also be noted that on a year on year basis, food inflation reached single digits for the first time since October 2011, slowing to 9.4 per cent in April 2013. Since then food inflation has picked up somewhat in June (12.6 per cent), but still remained much lower when compared with June 2012 when it stood at 24.1 per cent.
Further, the Report goes on to note that in 2012 the food, drink and tobacco sub-sector accounted for 4.6% of GDP (1t constant 2000 prices) up from 3.4%. As a present of the manufacturing sector, the food, drink and tobacco subsector contributed 52% of the manufacturing sector’s GDP, up from 46%.
Additionally, the Central Bank Reports’ that in 2011 exports of food and live animals, beverages and tobacco accounted for 54.6% of the total non-energy exports to the Commonwealth Caribbean from Trinidad and Tobago.
As such, due to the strategic agro-policies of the Ministry of Food Production, the hard work of the Ministry Staff and Farmers and, favourable weather conditions thus far the Ministry of Food Production was able to meet and surpass many of its strategic objectives for 2013.
Ministry of Food Production Personnel