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Don’t sell flood-soaked crops
Farmers whose crops have been affected by recent floods are being urged not carry their produce to markets.
This from Nirmala Debysingh-Persad, Acting Chief Executive Officer, National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (NAMDEVCO) yesterday.
“It is highly recommended that flood-affected crops do not enter the market place for sale and consumption. Produce affected by flood waters are at high risk of safety and quality,” she said by phone yesterday.
Based on preliminary data obtained over the weekend, some of the areas affected by flooding in the country include Felicity and Caroni in Central, Bonne Aventure and Rio Claro in South, Aranguez and Taparo in the North and Valencia in East Trinidad.
Some of the crops damaged include cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, cassava fields, sweet potato fields and dasheen fields.
“We have unconfirmed reports that water reached as high as banana and plantain trees. We are recommending that consumers do not collect fruits and vegetables that have been damaged.”
“We are about to go in the fields to do the proper assessment of the damage in terms of assessing the areas and looking at the cost of the damage,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr Yunus Ibrahim, President of Supermarkets’ Association of T&T does not believe that food in the market places and supermarkets will be at any risk because of possible contamination of crops from recent floods.
“If crops get covered by water then they do not survive to be able to carry them anywhere. Even if the crops survive where will they get the mechanisms to carry them out of the area? I do not think that will reach to market anyway,” he said yesterday.
He also said that there are other issues of contamination that is not normally talked about.
“Contamination goes both ways. The reality is that we do not farm in the correct areas in T&T and we do not use the appropriate lands for farming. The land use is not spread in the way it is supposed to be.
People have farms at the side of the highway and they are taking in exhaust all day and we buy those vegetables. We should be more concerned about that.”
Omardath Maharaj, agriculture consultant and economist told the T&T Guardian yesterday that the public should be aware of the damage to crops.
“No flood soaked foods would be safe to eat considering the level of contamination in the waters.”
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