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Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha, on Monday, met members of the newly installed Board of Directors of the Hope Coconut Industries Limited and charged its members to maximise the estate’s ability to produce coconuts.
“Coconut is a very important crop in our country. I recognise that the coconut industry has a lot of potential to bring in much more foreign revenue. In this year’s budget, Government allocated funds to develop two new coconut nurseries, one in Kairuni and one in Charity. We will continue to expand and develop the nurseries across the country. We also have different species of coconuts that we are considering. You will have to give the guidance, along with NAREI, for the development of the coconut industry. The Hope Estate too has to be developed. I had a meeting with farmers there and they raised a number of issues that are affecting that estate. We have to change those kinds of conditions and be more responsive to the issues of the farmers,” the Minister said.
Minister Mustapha also suggested that the Board set up sub-committees to address the issues faced by the entity.
Newly appointed Chairman of the Board, Pandit Rabindranath Persaud, said Hope Estate should become a model for other estates across the country.
“In the past, resources were not adequate enough to take Hope Coconut Industries where it was supposed to be. Now we have a Board with persons who are specialised, we have the resources and, most importantly, the enthusiasm to push the industry. So I’m happy to be working along with each and every one of you because I know for a fact, each and every one of you has something to bring to the table and make sure we excel in every capacity,” Persaud said.
The other members of the Hope Coconut Industries Limited are Teshawna Lall, Javed Shadick, Rickford Sue, Dr. Oudho Homenauth, Bissesar Persaud, George Jervis, Dhanpaul Sukhdeo, Gordon Thomas, Bissesar Chantamanie and Rickie Roopchand (GM/ ex officio member).