Government has received a disbursement of approximately TT$80.4m (�9.8m) in the form of grant funding through the European Development Assistance Programme. The funding, provided through Sector Budget Support, will be deposited into the Consolidated Fund under the Central Bank and is part of the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries with its use defined by the Cabinet-approved and European Union-accepted National Adaptation Strategy for the Sugar Industry.
A total of �75 million have been pledged by the EU for the continued restructuring of the formerly state-owned sugar sector and to support the government's efforts to increase domestic food production. Government determines how these funds are to be utilised in the context of national objectives to minimise the socio-economic and environmental impact and promote diversification of the economy.
The disbursement is the final tranche of the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2007 to 2010 which was approved by the EU after the sugar programme outlined in the National Adaptation Strategy achieved key performance indicators mutually agreed upon by the EU and the Government. In a statement, Government said there has been significant progress in the restructuring programme from the beginning of the Multiannual Indicative Programme 2007-2010 to present. Major achievements include:
�2 TT$82M in payments to more than 3,000 cane farmers as transitional support.
�2 The issuance of agricultural leases to former Caroni employees
�2 Regularisation of the status of farmers squatting on Caroni lands
�2 Compensation to 9000 former employees of Caroni 1975 Ltd
�2 Purchase of pension annuities for former Caroni employees
�2 Construction of access roads for 17 agricultural estates and 28 subdivisions
�2 Revision of the agricultural incentive programme
�2 Execution of training programmes for approximately 2,500 farmers
�2 Establishment of four mega farms on lands formerly owned by Caroni (1975) Ltd.
�2 Drafting of an Environmental Stability Plan to address the environmental concerns related to the agricultural, residential and industrial areas formerly under the Caroni (1975) ltd.
"The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has been working assiduously to fulfill the pre-determined performance indicators," said Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj who explained that the disbursement was a direct result of the Government satisfying all performance indicators of the 2010 financing agreement.He added: "This signifies the Government's commitment to fostering greater economic ties with international counterparts as well as sustaining the economic environment."
Charg� d'Affaires of the Delegation of the European Union, Daniela Tramacere, said: "The support the Trinidad and Tobago's National Action Plan for Food Production was in the framework of the EU's support to diversification of this country and creating a more competitive economy. "We are very pleased today to present this additional funding to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago as it underscores a continued strong and successful partnership between the EU and this country."