On the 175th anniversary of Indian Arrival in Trinidad and Tobago, when the entire country was reflecting on the accomplishments and triumphs of the East Indian descendants, over 40 farmers of Rahamut Trace, Woodland took the time to meet with their MP Vidia Gayadeen Gopeesingh to discuss the serious issues they are facing.
Andre Ramasray is a young energy sector professional and fourth generation farmer. He continues the tradition of cultivating the land along with his neighbours. But like many farmers around the country, he suffers the pestilence of governmental neglect.
However, as President of the Rahamut Trace Farmers’ Association, he is looking for solutions as their livelihoods are under siege. Be it from the scourge of thieves who loot their crops, to devastating floods, lack of irrigation systems, poor or no access roads to their fields, or even basic utilities of water and electricity supplies, these farmers are in the battle for their lives.
According to the MP, it seems that even after 175 years of our presence in Trinidad and Tobago, farmers are still facing the problems of our ancestors. Visiting the fields in Rahamut Trace, Woodland is like stepping back in time with the narrow potholed roads, poor drainage and no irrigation systems.
With the present government giving over $7.5 million in incentives to Tobago farmers, young agricultural entrepreneurs in Trinidad deserve equality in these disbursements too.
These are the agriculturalists who are part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, who are looking into the new technologies, from drip irrigation systems, to vertical farming to hydro and aquaponics. They are actively pursuing opportunities for food exports, to cut down the national food import bill of over $6 billion annually, and earn foreign exchange.
These farmers are not content to wait for years for solutions, but demand action now. Especially in these times when oil and gas prices have declined, agriculture is the “Green Gold” for the rejuvenation of the economy in the post- Covid 19 new world.