Category Archives: Agriculture

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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Hungry people, angry people

By Raffique Shah
April 27, 2020

Raffique ShahMy younger brother Farouk caught me unawares one evening last week when he telephoned me saying, “The PM used the ‘F’ word today!” “What?” I asked in shock, thinking that either Prime Minister Keith Rowley or Farouk was going off. “He did!” Farouk persisted. “He spoke about food.” The joke was on me, and we enjoyed a hearty laugh at my expense.
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Road Map To Recovery Team Needs Rethinking

By A. Hotep
April 17, 2020

Road Map To Recovery Team Needs RethinkingPM Dr Keith Rowley’s “Road Map to Recovery” team is mostly the same tone-deaf people who have us in our financial and social crisis today. There was no inclusion of members of the African community who advocate for addressing our racial and cultural issues which remain at the heart of disunity, insecurity and discriminatory social behaviours in this country. Why was the Opposition leader not invited to be part of this group? I am not aware of members of this team placing environmental concerns at the top of their agenda. Where are those who are concerned about the development of our agriculture and water management sectors? I rather suspect some feminists would also have similar concerns about being omitted.
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Hooked on foreign foods

By Raffique Shah
April 14, 2020

Raffique ShahLarge mobs of presumably hungry consumers virtually laid siege to fast-foods restaurants across the country last Monday evening after Prime Minister Keith Rowley announced that all restaurants and retail food services will be closed for business until the end of this month. Embedded in that eruption was a conundrum this country faces as it battles the COVID-19 virus.
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The bitter taste of sugar

By Raffique Shah
November 26, 2019

Raffique ShahI breathed a sigh of relief when I read my Express colleague Mark Wilson’s column last Friday headlined “Big Sugar, Kamla? Not so sweet.” I had just read the newspaper’s editorial which, in essence, supported a proposal made on the elections campaign by United National Congress leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to resurrect the country’s sugar industry if her party returns to power, presumably following the 2020 general election.
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Eating ourselves to early deaths

By Raffique Shah
October 23, 2019

Raffique ShahFact: while we the people of Trinidad and Tobago eat much of the foods, fruits, etc, that we produce locally, most of what we consume for sustenance and satisfaction, maybe as much as 80 percent, we do not produce. We import it.

Fiction: if they are given adequate incentives, starting with land tenure and going all the way through tax-free inputs and proper marketing facilities and concessions, the nation’s farmers can feed the population.
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Harness the best cocoa in the world

By Raffique Shah
May 16, 2018

Raffique ShahSometimes it pays to stay aloof of the noise that tends to pollute discussions on issues as important as the state of the national economy and efforts to resuscitate it. Last week, Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s mid-year review of the fiscal 2017-2018 Budget, which has been elevated to a media event, degenerated into a political slugfest involving several prominent economists and political commentators, and cantankerous Colm.
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