Black Immigrant Daily News
Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Minister Kazim Hosein examines freshly slaughtered goat carcasses on Monday during a tour of the Sugarcane Feed Centre in Longdenville. PHOTO BY MARVIN HAMILTON –
AGRICULTURE Minister Kazim Hosein said his ministry is seeking ways to reduce the cost of meat while ensuring the meat purchased is of a high quality.
He made this comment during the launch of an initiative between the ministry and the TT Goat and Sheep Society at the Sugarcane Feed Centre, in Longdenville on Monday.
“This initiative is an extension of the Government’s farm-to-table project linking livestock farmers to the consumers to guarantee affordable, certified healthy meat for sale.”
Hosein observed that through the National Agriculture Marketing Development Company (Namdevco), consumers can deal directly with fruit and vegetable farmers to purchase products.
“Now with the collaboration of the society, we will be utilising the Sugarcane Feed Centre as a hub where consumers can deal directly with livestock farmers for fresh meats.”
Hosein estimated that the market value for goat and lamb was $50 and $45 per lb (pound), respectively.
But through the ministry’s initiative, consumers can purchase goat and lamb directly from goat and sheep farmers at $38 and $35 per lb, respectively.
Hosein said this initiative was all about “putting people first” and also are aligned with Caricom’s goal of reducing the regional food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025 in an effort to achieve food security and nutrition for all
Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture Avinash Singh challenged Hosein to be the first to purchase goat or lamb meat at the centre.
“We are fully equipped to Halal (prepare meat as prescribed by Islamic laws) at this facility, so we cater for everybody.
Last week, the society’s president Ravi Renie welcomed the initiative.
Sugarcane Feed Centre officials later took Hosein, Singh and other ministry personnel on a tour of the centre, showing them the processes whereby animals are checked to ensure they are healthy before they are slaughtered.
He said it will protect the small ruminant industry, consisting mainly of goat and sheep farmers, to be able to sell their meat at competitive prices while protecting them against people who smuggle goats and sheep from Venezuela, sell the meat at higher prices and expose consumers to the risk of diseases.
“Farmers are going to be taking a little bit of a hit with it but we think that once we get the meat out into the mainstream market and people compare the quality, they will see the difference.”