Agriculture Ministry partnering with NFM to create cheaper livestock feed

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Agriculture Ministry partnering with NFM to create cheaper livestock feed

The Ministry of Agriculture has partnered with the National Flour Mills in a bid to bring down the cost of livestock feed.

This was revealed Saturday by Senator Avinash Singh, Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries.

Delivering the feature address at the inaugural commemoration of The International Day of Plant Health, Singh said the NFM has partnered with the Ministry via the Aripo Livestock Station to explore a new feed that is going to be on trial for the next three months. He explained the composition of the feed is to determine the protein levels and to bring down the feed price.

“All the farmers are crying out that we need to bring down the feed price and this is one step in the right direction,” he said.

The minister said following the trial period, the data would be shared with livestock farmers.

Singh said T&T has the technical capacity to grow feeds locally; however, large acreages on one location are needed for mechanization.

“Most farmers have indicated that they would like to grow some portion of their own feed because most animals are designed to eat grass—forage being the number one feed,” he observed.  “Artificial feed or processed feed is supplemental in nature. There is research right now at The UWI where a new grass is being explored.”

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has welcomed a UN decision to establish an annual International Day of Plant Health as a critical issue in addressing global hunger, as plant pests and disease cause massive crop damage that leave millions without enough food.

Referring to FAO’s statistics, Minister Singh reported that up to forty percent (40%) of the global food crop production is lost every year due to plant pests and diseases, while climate change and human activities are posing new and imminent challenges for plant health.

“Improving our understanding of how to restrict the spread of invasive pests will mark a significant contribution to global food security. Plants provide the core basis for life on Earth and are considered the single most important pillar of human nutrition. Therefore, ensuring the sustenance of healthy plants, is not something that we can ever afford to take for granted,” he said.

In delivering her remarks, Permanent Secretary Shurland said that the intention of the exercise was to: increase awareness of the importance of keeping plants healthy; minimise the risk of spreading plant pests through trade and travel and; enable sustainable pest and pesticide management to keep plants healthy while protecting the environment and promoting investment in plant health innovations, capacity development and outreach.

Also speaking at the event was Mr. Robertson (FAO) who reminded the audience that the business of plant health bore a collective responsibility and that just as proactive as we are regarding our personal health, so too must we be proactive in the execution of good agricultural practices in order to safeguard the best of health for all our plants.

In welcoming the decision of the United Nations to highlight the importance of plant health, Ms. Ramroop (WFDNCTT) took the liberty of apprising both the audience and patrons of the Chaguanas Farmers Market, of the range of activities being undertaken today (from 7:30 a.m. – 12 Noon), to mark the global observance. These include: a live plant clinic session and extension services; the distribution of seeds, seedlings and saplings in addition to an exhibition featuring posters and promotional material on the various management and mitigation strategies which may be employed to treat with a range of plant pests and diseases.