Agriculture Minister urges Supermarket Association – “Make more locally produced food, available”
November 26, 2017: Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, said his hope for the coming year was that supermarkets and citizens alike, will make a “more serious and significant attempt”, to support our farmers and other local food producers by making available and by substituting imported food with more of what we produce locally.
He made this statement on Saturday 25th November, 2017 , during his delivery of the Feature Address at the Annual Christmas Dinner & Awards Gala, hosted by the Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT), at the Centre of Excellence in Tunapuna. The event was attended by Mrs. Camille Rambharat, wife of Minister Rambharat; members of the SATT and other representatives of the food industry.
Minister Rambharat, who said he “would like to see more local food in the supermarkets and on the plates of consumers”, reiterated his statement as he cited his grave “disappointment” with the high level of imported food dished out to diners recently at a gala dinner.
In apologizing for the absence of Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry - who, like him, had been engaged in an “equally important” simultaneous event - Minister Rambharat lauded the significant impacts of both Ministries’ “interactions” with the SATT over the past year. Among these he underscored as being most significant, were: the public enquiry into the issue of food fraud which was convened by a Joint Select Committee of Parliament and; the issue of food safety relative to the temporary ban on corned beef and other meat products imported from Brazil. On this latter issue, He noted: “Had it not been for the personal relationships which both Minister Scoon and myself had with the Supermarket Association, we would not have been able to effect the ban and recall in the way that we had done it, minimizing the damage to both our trade and the reputation of the country.”
He opined that “one of the most important things” achieved this year was “the advancement of long, outstanding work on food safety” and hoped that by 2018, “strong standards on food safety” would be put in place in Trinidad and Tobago.
In alluding to the scarcity of foreign exchange reserves, President of the SATT, Dr. Muhammed Yunis Ibrahim, urged his colleagues to prepare “in the immediate short-term, for lean times to come.” He said: “In times like these when the economic and social challenges may seem insurmountable, we must all dig deep as citizens of this nation and build a sense of resilience amongst ourselves for the benefit of our country as a whole.”
Mr. Ibrahim also acknowledged that while the pursuit of certain “foreign goods” was at times, a necessity, “food security as a right to every citizen, must be our collective goal.” “The SATT is committed - in collaboration with those Ministries that impact the food industry - to building, sustaining and enhancing a proper food supply chain for the nation,” he added.
The event culminated with the announcement of SATT’s three (3), Excellence in Distributor Awards - in the Large, Medium and Small Categories - all of which were adjudicated on the following criteria: relationship management; delivery of goods ; damages and return policy; merchandising; sales promotion; payment policy; suggested retail and; suggested profit margins.
Guests were serenaded to the soulful selections of local entertainer, Mr. Neval Chatelal and three (3)-time Chutney Soca Monarch - KI.
EXCELLENCE IN DISTRIBUTOR AWARDS RESULTS:-
1. Distributor of the Year Award (Small):- Pepe’s Marketing Limited
2. Distributor of the Year Award (Medium):- Diary Diary Distributors
3. Distributor of the Year Award (Large):- Hadco Limited
Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (left), presents the Distributor of the Year Award (Large) to a representative of Hadco Limited at SATT’s Annual Christmas Dinner and Awards Gala at the Centre of Excellence in Tunapuna on Saturday 25th November, 2017.