Goldsborough farmers are continuing to experience a shortage of water to supply their crops.
This was one of the concerns raised at a pre-budget consultation hosted by the THA Division of Finance, Trade and the Economy on Monday evening, ahead of Thursday’s 2022-2023 fiscal presentation at the Assembly Legislature, Scarborough.
The theme for Monday’s discussion was: food security and rural development, focusing solely on the agricultural sector.
THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine told the farmers that they need to find a way to become the breadbasket of the Tobago space, producing a lot more of what is eaten.
Goldsborough farmer Marva Baldeo-Caruth said she has been farming for over 15 years, but water remains the biggest challenge to the sector.
“When you go to kindergarten, when they teach you to plant, the first thing that they tell you is sunshine and water is one of our biggest problems. Farmers in Goldsborough, we are eager, we are ready. You all just have to help us with the water.”
Another Goldsborough farmer, Roland Murray, said although water is running in the line, the pressure is too low.
“I have one of the bigger holdings, I had a two-inch main (line). In 2007 when they run that main, the bigger holdings they gave two-inch. When they (THA) came recently and activate the three wells, they break it down to three-quarter. My holdings have a three-quarter on it, but can that supply my holding?
“I have about five acres of land on that production, and they break it down from two-inch to three-quarter.”
Last November, former THA Division of Food Production, Forestry and Fisheries Ancil Dennis commissioned a facility at Cow Farm Road, for 81 farmers in both Cow Farm Road and Pig Farm Road, Goldsborough, to benefit from an irrigation facility aimed at providing a sustainable water supply through wells.
At that time, Dennis said the commissioning demonstrated the seriousness and commitment of the administration to the farmers across the island. He said the overall aim was to improve Tobago’s agriculture sector.
Augustine said that irrigation project by the previous administration cost the THA $13 million.
“The money done spend already. Whoever eat a food, done eat a food, we need the water for the farmers.”
Asked to comment on the claim that the irrigation facility was still insufficient to meet farmers’ demands, Dennis told Newsday to speak to the contractor for the project.