Shiraz Khan joins agriculture advisory board


Shiraz Khan, president of the Trinidad Unified Farmers Association, hugs Agriculture Minister Kazim Hosein at Khan’s farm at Carlsen Field on Saturday. -ROGER JACOB

One of the government’s most vocal critics, Shiraz Khan, president of the Trinidad Unified Farmers Association, has agreed to serve on an advisory council to help address some of the problems in the agricultural sector.

“I want to assure the media and the public that Khan has agreed to be part of an advisory team to advise me and others on what the country needs at this time,” the minister announced on Saturday. of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, Kazim Hosein.

“We have set an appointment on Monday at 1 p.m. where I will be advised by the most important people.”

Hosein made the comments at Khan’s farm at Carlsen Field, Chaguanas. He visited the farm as part of Eid-al-Adha which the Muslim community celebrated on Saturday. Over the years, Khan had led several protests across the country accusing the opposition and the government of neglecting the agricultural sector. Last year he contested the seat of Chaguanas East as an independent candidate in the general election, but lost to UNC’s Vandana Mohit.

Even though he is part of the advisory team, his position on the government remains the same. Khan told Sunday Newsday that if he was unhappy with any of the government’s decisions he would continue to speak out against them.

Khan added: “I’m not here to befriend anyone. There must be benefits for farmers. All I can do is live in hope, but I don’t see it going beyond two years.

During the tour, he discussed the importance of the ministry investing more revenue in all aspects of the agriculture industry. Khan has been a cattle rancher for over 40 years. He has been a strong advocate in explaining the benefits of greater government involvement in the agricultural sector. Standing next to Hosein, Khan was quick to offer his thoughts on the current state of agriculture and urged people to support local producers. He also called for “common sense” to prevail.

“It has been a difficult period for many of us in agriculture over the past 25 to 30 years, from the predial theft to the lack of support and cooperation from the ministry and other institutions,” said Khan.

Butcher Carl Howard cuts meat at Shiraz Khan’s farm in Carlsen Field, Chaguanas. -ROGER JACOB

“It’s not favorable to farmers at the moment, and we hope that with global situations like global warming, the war between Ukraine and Russia and the covid19 pandemic, we could produce the majority of what we eat in TT.”

Khan is convinced that if the ministry gives more attention, resources and funds to local farmers, the country’s import bill can be significantly reduced. Farmers, he said, as well as the whole country would benefit. He said his demands for improvement in the sector were not new as he had been trying since 2007 to boost the agricultural sector.

Hosein promised to work hand in hand with all farmers to ensure they receive the support needed to make TT more self-sufficient. He was convinced that the country had enough resources to make Khan’s visions possible. The minister added that the intention is there and mentioned the Southex agricultural exhibition.

This expo takes place from August 3-7 at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba, on the outskirts of San Fernando. Hosein recalled that he met with Guyana’s Vice President and Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha on June 30 at the President’s House in Georgetown, Guyana, and discussed agricultural and agro-industrial techniques.

He explained that the visit was to ensure that new techniques are learned so that they can be incorporated into TT’s agricultural sector as they can increase production levels.

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