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Plan for more local content in school meals
Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj wants to ensure that at least 50 per cent of the meals served in the School Feeding Programme are made with locally produced foods. He said so yesterday when he spoke with reporters after presenting letters of appointment to members of the Caroni Green Initiative board at the ministry’s offices at St Clair. Caroni Green, a special purpose state company, will be mandated to increase production for the school meals, he said.
“We want to identify the produce needed and supply it in a regular and timely manner. These include all the vegetables, meats and cassava flour for the bread. This should start when the new school year starts in September.” Maharaj said Caroni Green, which was launched last year, has already contributed to a decline in food inflation, the minister said. He said by the end of 2015 at least 6000 acres should be in production.
Nigel Anthony Grimes, an agronomist, is the new chairman. of Caroni Green. He said his plans include sourcing more lands, including under utilised two-acre parcels from former Caroni (1975) Limited workers, into agricultural production. Other plans include partnering with owners of private estates willing to increase production or getting their idle estates flourishing once again. We want to impact upon our food import bill and food inflation. Caroni Green gives us an excellent opportunity to do this,” Grimes said.
Other board members include Alicia Singh, Sheraz Ali, Jessica Maicoo, Justin Joseph, Ganesh Gangapersad, Stacy Barran, Esmond Giffard, Vishnu Dhanpaul and Eunice Walton.