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Trinidad: T&T’s rice industry ‘facing collapse’-JSC hears from farmers

“WE ARE on the brink of the total collapse of the rice industry.”

This is what David Paponette, president of the National Rice Farmers, told the Joint Select Committee on State Enterprises yesterday. JSC member Fazal Karim asked: “Do you think you might reach a situation where we don’t have any raw material to mill at Carlsen Field and the closure of the rice industry and the total importation of rice?”

“We are very, very close to that point,” Paponette answered.

The Committee was told that there would be no local production of rice for this year because last year’s floods washed away all the seeds. And rice farmer Fazal Akaloo (Rice Growers Association) said no compensation had been received from the Government for the losses sustained in those floods. “We might get that (money) next year,” he said.

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