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.

Locusts move out of forest, continuing their destruction

The locusts which hatched in the forests of Mora last November have grown into fully-fledged locusts and are now attacking agricultural estates in the southwestern peninsula.

Teams are now struggling to deal with the pests and residents say swarms are entering their yards and houses.

When Guardian Media visited the scene, thousands of locusts were seen flying in the air.

The sounds of their wings could be heard if you listened carefully.

Irrigation project to make more water available to farmers

The Agricultural Society has started work on an irrigation project that helps make more water available to farmers, in the face of a harsh dry season that threatens to affect food prices.

The Orange Grove Agricultural Project is a joint venture between the society and the Ministry of Works.

President of the Agricultural Society, Dhanoo Sookoo, has said while the Ministry of Works provided the infrastructure, much of the project which began in January has been financed by farmers.

Fishermen grounded by sea of seaweed

Fish­er­men in the south­west­ern penin­su­la say mas­sive quan­ti­ties of sar­gas­sum sea­weed is ham­per­ing their abil­i­ty to fish.

The sea­weed is so bad that some fish­er­men have an­chored their boats and have not ven­tured out to the ocean in over three weeks.

When Guardian Me­dia vis­it­ed the area on Wednes­day, the foul-smelling weeds lined the Ica­cos beach where dozens of boats were an­chored.

Pres­i­dent of the Ica­cos Unit­ed Fish­er­men As­so­ci­a­tion Gary Ed­wards said as many as 800 fish­er­men were af­fect­ed.

Locusts ravage South farmlands

Locusts have descended on farms in the southwest peninsula, ravaging crops and vegetation.

The worst hit areas include Bowen Trace, Chatham and Austin South Trace.

Teams from the Ministry of Agriculture have been taking photographs and reports of the damage. However, sources say the lone crop dusting tractor is down so spraying of the insects is not possible.