Category Archives: Agriculture

I am the State!

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 11, 2022

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOne is always flabbergasted by how democracy functions (or malfunctions) in Trinidad and Tobago. Recently there was a Cabinet reshuffle in the Government. Clarence Rambharat, the Minister of Agriculture, resigned. He expressed his desire to return to Canada to be closer to his family and yet one week later he was named or, as the Express describes it, “rocked back” into power. (Express, April 3.)
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Stop the land banditry now

By Raffique Shah
April 04, 2022

Raffique ShahMy telephone mysteriously morphed into a Catholic church-type confessional after my column of last Sunday hit the streets, or given the dominance of the Internet in disseminating news, fake and real, likelier after Sunday Express’ online version was read by people who make it a point to stay ahead on the information highway.
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Sordid saga of State lands

By Raffique Shah
March 28, 2022

Raffique ShahI believe every word that the former minister of agriculture, land and fisheries, Clarence Rambharat, wrote and uttered with respect to the rampant stealing of State lands by persons high and low, and the refusal, maybe complicity, of others in authority who are empowered to do something about the multibillion-dollar racket to act, as well as his charge that senior public officials and professionals in private practice, from doctors to attorneys, are part of a mafia-like organisation whose members and agents have grown wealthy off this cancerous crime that has overwhelmed the body politic of this nation.
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Eat smart, beat inflation

By Raffique Shah
February 14, 2022

Raffique ShahMy final focus on food production for now, on cutting back on imports which stand at approximately US$1 billion per year, adds nothing new, nothing that I, and others more qualified than I, have not said before.

In fact, there is hardly anything I can add to this component of the economy since the challenges remain the same they were decades ago, and governments’ responses, likewise, are like a stuck wax record in a digital player—jarring, unintelligible noises that are offensive to the trained ear.
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‘Foods’ that kill us not so softly

By Raffique Shah
February 07, 2022

Raffique ShahEternal optimist that I am, I see opportunities in crisis—and believe me when I tell you I’ve seen crises in my life that most men cannot even imagine. Many do not wish to even go that far, fearing that nightmarish images would materialise into reality and they would remain trapped in a Dante-like inferno forever and ever… don’t ever mention the “amen”. That could render a grim present into an ominous future.
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Small exports add up

By Raffique Shah
June 14, 2021

Raffique ShahI shall not dwell on the many options we have to produce some of the foods we consume and to reduce our heavy dependence on foreign foods for our survival. Far too many reports have been compiled by committees on this issue.

The fact that we have done very little to alter the food production equation in favour of local content or substitutes is a damning indictment against us all—from consumers who insist on foreign brands to farmers who cultivate or do not cultivate, depending on subsidies from government; from cooks who will not soil their hands preparing ground provisions for meals for adults who will die if they cannot get hold of foreign “fast foods” that are devoid of nutrition but laden with unhealthy ingredients and harmful additives that are addictive.
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Foods for your table

By Raffique Shah
June 07, 2021

Raffique ShahWarnings of food crises post-Covid-19 are dire. According to one study on global food security by the Centre for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), dated March 15, 2021, one year into the pandemic, ‘…at least four countries are facing…famine, …with 13 close behind…’ The study noted that one year ago, the UN World Food Programme executive director David Beasely, warned the UN Security Council of ‘famines of biblical proportions’ and of possibly 270 million ‘people experiencing crisis levels of hunger’.
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Now Dasheen, Callaloo, stir interest

By Raffique Shah
November 04, 2020

Raffique ShahA few weeks ago, in this space, and not for the first time, I made a case for stimulating the production of local foods as a means of reducing our dependence on foreign foods, and in particular, to chip away at the staggering TTD $5 billion per year in foreign exchange that we must find to pay for just about everything we eat and drink. However, I made the mistake of using the headline “Cocoa, Cassava to the rescue”. I was almost laughed out of town by many of my friends and some of my detractors, who chorused: Shah, yuh want to kill we with cassava!
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Periscope on Budget

By Raffique Shah
October 05 2020

Raffique ShahI am hopeful that Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s Budget 2021 will remain open to ideas that may come from ordinary citizens or professionals or anyone else even after he will have presented it to Parliament tomorrow. This is no ordinary Appropriation Bill. It is, or ought to be, an extraordinary document that contains the sum total of citizens’ prescriptions for rescuing and resuscitating an economy that has been battered and bruised by several governments over the past, say, forty years, and rendered semi-comatose by blows from the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Resurrecting the dead

By Raffique Shah
July 20, 2020

Raffique ShahI had no intention of intervening in the campaigning for the general election, which is due to be held in three weeks. It is well established that politicians say the darndest things in normal times, and they become outrageous when they are soliciting votes from the electorate. They not only lie, they make promises that they and the voters know they can never keep. . But there is a tacit understanding between the combatants that allows the candidates to peddle lies, to promote the impossible and not be held accountable for it.
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