Farmers welcome thundershowers

Thun­der­show­ers drenched most of T&T on Sunday fol­low­ing a scorch­ing dry sea­son, bring­ing gusty winds which top­pled trees and broke branch­es in North Trinidad.

But by mid­day, the T&T Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Of­fice can­celled its ad­verse weath­er alert from yel­low to green say­ing weath­er con­di­tions had im­proved sig­nif­i­cant­ly al­though a few show­ers were still ex­pect­ed to linger in­to the night.

There were no re­ports of any ma­jor dam­age or flood­ing.

In South Trinidad, the rains start­ed around 7 am and last­ed well af­ter mid­day.

Aranguez farmers plead not guilty to illegally siphoning water

Four Aranguez farmers pleaded not guilty to illegally siphoning water to their farms before a Port of Spain Magistrate this morning.

Ishwar Singh, Ted Rampersad, Teemal Ramesh, and Ramnath Moonilal appeared before Magistrate Magistrate Sanara Toon-McQuilkin in the Third court this morning to answer the charge of abstracting water from a watercourse without a license to water plants.

The matter was adjourned to June 3r after the prosecution said they had incomplete evidence summaries to present to the court this morning.

WASA distributes water abstraction licences to farmers

Eight farm­ers who were warned by WASA for ab­stract­ing wa­ter il­le­gal­ly - in­clud­ing four who were charged - have all ap­plied for and re­ceived ab­strac­tion li­cences.

Con­fir­ma­tion of this has come from Pub­lic Util­i­ties Min­is­ter Robert Le Hunte, who told re­porters at Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day that “these are be­ing worked on to­geth­er with (ap­pli­ca­tions) for a num­ber of oth­er in­di­vid­u­als and WASA is work­ing close­ly with the re­spec­tive bod­ies to have this re­solved ex­pe­di­tious­ly and am­i­ca­bly so farm­ers won’t be af­fect­ed.”

Ministry to intensify locust spraying from Tuesday

An intensification of locust spraying is set to begin today after the Ministry of Agriculture St Patrick Locust Unit finally received a refurbished wheel tractor which enables cluster spraying.

A source said the tractor was repaired but there were two minor mechanical issues to rectify. 

"Once these issues are addressed, we expect full spraying to resume today," the source said.

On Sunday farmer Rishi Ramroop said the locust swarms were so bad that the insects were now entering homes.

Farmers charged with siphoning water in Aranguez

WASA has of­fi­cial­ly charged two farm­ers who were re­port­ed­ly si­phon­ing wa­ter in Aranguez for their gar­dens.

The farm­ers were served with sum­mons­es to ap­pear in court lat­er this month while they were meet­ing with Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Clarence Ramb­harat on Tues­day evening.

On Sat­ur­day, se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cers em­ployed with WASA con­fis­cat­ed the pumps of two farm­ers in the Aranguez dis­trict.

The farm­ers had threat­ened le­gal ac­tion against the move and de­mand­ed the re­turn of their equip­ment.

Chatham farmers want help as locusts destroy crops

Farmers from Chatham are crying out for help as swarms of locusts continue to feed off vast acreages of crops in the southwestern peninsula.

While the Ministry of Agriculture awaits funds to fix a wheel tractor used to spray the insects, farmers say they are losing thousands of dollars in crops.

Farmer Rishi Ramroop of Southern Main Road, Chatham said the swarm was so thick that within the space of a few days they gnawed away several acres of cassava, bodi, plantain and carailli."

Better cocoa - Ministry wants improved standard of beans

Minister of Trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon, has presented two new cocoa standards to The University of the West Indies (UWI) which were developed by the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS), intended to improve the quality of locally produced cocoa beans.

The handover took place at The UWI during the Cocoa Research Centre’s (CRC) Annual Research and Development Symposium.

According to Gopee-Scoon, the Ministry of Trade and Industry is committed to supporting downstream agro-processing as a form of economic diversification.