Trinidad/Tobago — Farmers are describing the current water shortage caused by a harsh dry season as a disaster and are begging government to devise a plan to save their crops from drying up. They are complaining that production levels in terms of crops are falling as water sources continue to be depleted. They are also warning that the price of food will go up.
Dhanoo Sookhoo, president of the Agricultural Society said she anticipates that in a short while citizens will have to deal with a rise in the price of certain herbs, seasonings and vegetables.
It is too early to say what exactly we expect to rise but surely herbs such as chive and thyme, will be expensive as the Paramin area has been hit hard by this water situation, she said.
What does government have in place for us? We have a crisis, we should come up with a holistic plan. The ministry of agriculture, WASA and all farming organisations should come together for us to deal with this situation, she said.
She noted that river channels are getting very low and farmers options to extract water are low because WASA has indicated that it is illegal to extract supplies from certain water courses. We are interested in meeting with WASA so we can dialogue…we are not sure where we can extract water. Right now farmers are losing their crops due to a lack of water, she said.
She pointed out that a farm in the Central Trinidad area recently lost over 15 acres of watermelon. We recently made an intervention for the farmers at Plum Mitan where we purchased a water pump for irrigation of over 400 acres of crops, we also de-silted a few rivers in an effort to save up to four million pounds of sweet potato, she explained.
Education and Research Officer of the National Food Crop Farmers Association, Norris Deonarine is also calling on the government to help farming communities. Our farmers need water, we need to have a comprehensive plan because if we do not, our food security will continue to be threatened, he said.