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Abrahim Ali, 58, works in a corn field in the Caroni Plains.

The T&T Bureau of Standards (TTBS) is supporting the Ministry of Agriculture in its thrust to increase and improve agricultural production including local crop, aquaculture and horticulture.

In a statement the TTBS explained that this is being done through the development of a draft action plan which will assist stakeholders in the agriculture sector to improve the quality of goods and services used in the sector and allow for the more efficient use of resources.

The plan was recently developed during a workshop titled, “Promoting Dialogue between the National Quality Infrastructure (QI) and the Agriculture sector in Trinidad and Tobago,” and is based on the input of quality infrastructure parameters (standards, conformity assessment – inspection, testing, certification, meteorology, accreditation, market surveillance and awareness and education) into the agriculture sector.

It will be developed for proposed implementation within the next 12 to 18 months .

According to the TTBS the workshop served as a means to increase awareness and understanding of the private sector to the importance of quality and standards in making their businesses more competitive,

increase participants’ understanding of the role of QI in enhancing the development of the agriculture sector and provide guidance to T&T’s QI to structure its services to match the needs for the agriculture sector, some of which include promoting and increasing the use of good agricultural practices.

Rodney Ramnath, Manager Certification Division said quality Infrastructure is a key component of international trade facilitation, adding that a well-coordinated QI is essential for the domestic markets and for products to gain access to foreign markets.

He added that for developing and transitioning economies, raising awareness of a country’s national quality infrastructure and the application of standards can lead to a host of benefits s like creating better, safer, and more sustainable products, increasing domestic commercial activity and enhancing consumer protection.

CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) CEO Derek Omar also noted that the draft plan would assist in the inclusion and expansion of quality systems and procedures into the agriculture sector in T&T.

The draft plan will be further refined over the next month with the continued engagement of the agriculture sector stakeholders prior to being submitted for approval, with implementation slated to begin in January 2022.