Pineapple farmers who have chopped down more than 300 acres of forest reserve in Tableland are expected to be charged by the police following investigations, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat confirmed yesterday.
Rambharat himself has also launched a probe into “the complete failure of the Forestry Division to combat squatting in the forest reserves.”
In an interview with the T&T Guardian, Rambharat said he was appalled at the forest destruction.
Thick Saharan dust which blanketed T&T last weekend has caused hardship for scores of people suffering from asthma and sinus but for agriculturalists, the dust has been welcomed as free natural fertilizer.
Heavy rains put a damper on spraying operations at agricultural estates near Bunsee Trace, Penal on Tuesday as farmers continue to grapple with crop losses from an infestation of locusts.
The locusts, which are about a centimetre in length, have been gobbling fields of cassava, peas, ochroes and bodi near the forests of Morne Diablo.
Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat said spraying started since Sunday.
However, residents of Penal Rock said not all the areas are being covered.
Chairman of the Toco/Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Terry Rondon says he has reaped a pumpkin weighing more than 100 pounds from his garden at Toco.
Rondon brought the pumpkin to share with his local government colleagues during a consultation with Minister of Local Government Kazim Hosein, held at the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation.
In a brief interview, Rondon said he got the seeds and decided to plant them.
Extensive spraying has started in a bid to eradicate swarms of locusts which have already destroyed several acres of crops at Mendez Village, Penal.
Resident Hemraj Seelal said the locusts have been feeding off trees in the forests since January but over the past month, they have started destroying fields of peas, cassava, ochroes and bodi.
“They eating up the ochro trees. We are facing a lot of losses right now,” Seelal said on Monday.
Six months after the August earthquake ripped apart 50 acres of prime agricultural lands in Los Iros, farmers say they have received no assistance from the Government.
During a protest at Royal Engineer (RE) Road, Erin, farmers showed off fields of parched crops.
President of the Los Iros Hillview Farmers Association Reshianand Ramraj said the fields of produce withered because most of the major ponds in the area had dried up. More than 20 irrigation ponds were damaged by the 6.9 magnitude earthquake.
Having lost thousands of dollars in crops at the hands of thieves, Williamsville farmers are calling on Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat to revamp the Predial Larceny Squad.
Farmer Ramsumair Hanuman said the squad has not been responding to distress calls nor was it patrolling farming communities.
Saying the Corial Road farmers were especially hard hit by larceny, Hanuman said they were hopeful that Rambharat would investigate and intervene in their plight.