More needed to encourage digital agriculture

If T&T’s agri­cul­ture sec­tor has to move for­ward, poli­cies are need­ed for su­per­mar­kets to buy from farm­ers and pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment is al­so nec­es­sary to ad­vise farm­ers on agri­cul­tur­al plan­ning as is suc­cess­ful­ly done in St Lu­cia and Ja­maica, says Agri­cul­tur­al So­ci­ety pres­i­dent Dhanoo Sookoo.

This was among rec­om­men­da­tions Sookoo made to Par­lia­ment’s Land and Phys­i­cal In­fra­struc­ture com­mit­tee yes­ter­day.

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.