Trinidad and Tobago

TT must invest in agriculture

A LEADING local professor in the field of agriculture and biosciences believes TT should invest some of its oil and gas monies to boost production in the agricultural sector.

UTT programme professor in Biosciences, Agriculture and Food Technologies (BAFT) Dr Marlon Knights said so following a lecture on biosecurity at the university’s Chaguanas campus on Wednesday. Texas department of agriculture coordinator for biosecurity, Dr Awinash Bhatkar gave the feature address.

Asked afterwards whether TT would ever be able to move away from its dependency on the energy sector, Knights said the nation would not have choice given decreasing local production and volatility in prices on the international market.

“I think we wouldn’t really have a choice, there are many different things that are going, it wouldn’t be a rapid move as some people expect but I think there needs to be a gradual movement, we need to take our oil and gas dollars and invest some of that in increasing the capacity for local agricultural production.”

“Now is the time, we cannot wait when oil and gas prices are extremely low or when there is virtually none at all, God forbid, but we have to try to make those investments now.” Knights cited UTT’S Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry (ECIAF) campus saying while this facility produced regional agriculturalists noted that the 64 year old campus is in need of significant technological upgrades.

“We have a 64 year old campus producing agricultural practitioners throughout the region but that’s an old campus, we need significant investment in terms of redeveloping and bringing in new technology so that we can train our students in some of the newer technologies and new approaches.”

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