Credit Unions call for the fast tracking of a National Food Security Plan

Chaguanas, Trinidad – March 24, 2020: The Cooperative Credit Union Movement is calling on Government through the Ministry of Agriculture to fast track implementation of a national food security plan immediately after the COVID-19 spread is contained.

According to President of the Central Finance Facility (CFF), Ms. Letitia Telesford, the credit union movement is in high praise of the Government and how it has handled the situation to date, but a food security plan which would minimize the dependence on imported food during and after the COVID-19 crisis, must also be high on the agenda.

President Telesford stated “We need to develop and implement a plan that will lead to the production of three months consumption of short-term crops within a six week period and monthly production thereafter, that could feed the country in the future.”

This will involve a cooperative effort of the government and the peoples’ sector and organizations such as the Farmers’ Associations, the University of the West Indies, the University of Trinidad and Tobago, Agricultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago, cooperatives based in the Agricultural sector, credit unions and private individuals.”

We must come together and maximize the acreage of land under cultivation so that we can feed our people sustainably. In addition, more local food production leads to a reduced need for foreign exchange.”

Individuals owning uncultivated land must be willing to make it available to government and share in the returns. Similarly employment programs like URP and CEPEP must be redeployed to land cultivation and food production. More of our refuges must also be encouraged and redeployed to work there.”

This is a national challenge and the nation must respond” said Telesford. “We the Cooperative Credit Union stand ready to play our part and we are confident that other parts of the people sector will to.”