Livestock farmers face feed shortage


Livestock farmer Shiraz Khan at his farm in Carlsen Field. – SUREASH CHOLAI

Animal farmers who have been facing low supply of feedstock have gotten some relief as local poultry producers have been sharing their supply.

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat in response to a query from Sunday Newsday said, “There was an issue of the US that has been resolved.”

He said as an interim measure local poultry producers with stock shared with other suppliers who were out of stock.

The issue of shortage of feedstock was raised by former president of the Trinidad Unified Farmers Association Shiraz Khan.

Khan vented his frustration on the matter and accused both the Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Trade and Industry of Paula Gopee-Scoon of being negligent in the matter.

“All of them feed shop empty, farmers have no feed to feed their animals, from Point Fortin to the East. Real good management. Paula Gopee-Scoon where is your six months reserve? Clarence Rambharat – real pressure,” Khan stated on a Facebook post.

In an interview, Khan said he visited to several feed shops in Central Trinidad but was out of luck to find dairy ration. A visit to National Flour Mill’facility in Carlsen Field, where his farm is based and was unable to get any feed from them.

He said, “Up till Tuesday farmers visited NFM in Carlsen Field and have been asking for dairy ration and they could not get any. When we enquired, they (NFM) told us we needed to contact the Port of Spain office, so far no answers have been forthcoming.”

Khan said farmers have raised the issue with the authorities in the past few months, but it was not taken seriously and trying to speak with any of the ministers have been futile.

“No one is taking us on. The minister (Gopee-Scoon) came on television and said we were causing confusion. They told us there was a backup supply but look at what is happening now. I am not going to waste my time talking to them,” he said.

Rambharat acknowledged there was a feed shortage for livestock, but this was resolved some months ago.

Responding via Whatsapp he said, “On the NFM side you can contact the line Minister – Minister Gopee-Scoon.”

When contacted Gopee-Scoon said she was unaware of the issue and would look into the matter. She referred Newsday back to Rambharat and to the NFM chairman Nigel Romano. Romano in WhatsApp response said one of the private feed producers Master Mix had been shut down for about a week as there were delayed shipment of raw materials.

“This is mainly due to the China buying splurge. We have kept our operations going with an increase in sales. The main players like Nutrimix, WGM, Mastermix and NFM are all in contact and coordinating lending (stock) etc.”

Romano said shipments arrived last weekend and by next weekend the situation is expected to be normalised.

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