Government must work harder to create a policy that will reduce the import bill and give the country food security, says agricultural economist and consultant Omardath Maharaj.
“In the current and anticipated economic circumstances facing T&T, we cannot deny the fact that the cost of living and economic hardship is on the rise. It is therefore a necessity for policymakers to do more towards preserving food and nutrition security at the household level, protect and strengthen the men and women who feed the nation and, to act aggressively to stabilize sentiment and build consensus on the way forward,” he said in a statement.
Maharaj said although T&T is not at “crisis level” with its food supply, other social sectors must also join Government in creating solutions.
“Being import-dependent with a burgeoning annual food import bill of approximately $6 billion, declining foreign exchange reserves and increasing pressure on exchange rates, and widening current account and fiscal deficits; we must focus on our food independence sooner than later,” he said.
“In addition to agriculture sector policy and targets, greater emphasis must be placed on actions that citizens can take for themselves, at home or in public spaces, which brings the greatest return within our environment—both economic and ecological. The outcome of which, possibly not anticipated by some, will be irreversible.”