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Trinidad: farmers rice ending up as pet food

Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat says he was shocked by a recent revelation by the National Flour Mills (NFM) that 95 per cent of the rice paddy it buys from local rice farmers ends up as pet food and not on the plates of taxpayers.

“Could you imagine that the taxpayers of the country support rice by providing sometimes the seeds that are required; support rice by making the water that is required available; support rice by making the land that is required available; support rice by guaranteeing a fixed price; support rice by paying the NFM $4.8 million a year to mill that rice and the taxpayers that I represent in this country finding out that that rice does not end up on their plates, but ends up in the (dog) kennels around the country. That is something that has me very, very concerned,” Rambharat said yesterday.

His comments came during the Joint Select Committee (JSC) of Parliament’s meeting with the NFM and the Ministry on Monday, held at the Parliament building, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain.

It was the NFM’s third time before the JSC in two months.

The Committee, chaired by Anthony Vieira, specifically examined NFM’s purchase of rice paddy from local farmers.

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