Category Archives: Agriculture

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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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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