National Fruit Festival
Festival Celebrates Local Fruit
Trinidad and Tobago’s delicious local fruit was the star attraction at the National Fruit Festival held in June this year. The Festival was held under the distinguished patronage of the Member of Parliment and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representitive, the Honorable Mrs Nela Khan who visited the Festival on Saturday. Jairam Seemugal, Minister of Food Production, and Ramash Ramsumair, President of the Tableland Pineapple Farmers’ Association, both attended the festival and pointed out the need for the people of Trinidad and Tobago to consume more locally grown fruit.
In fact, the National Fruit Festival’s mission is to make locals more aware of the potential of fruit grown right on their doorsteps rather than imported from thousands of miles away. Trinidad and Tobago imports a staggering US$4 billion in food every year, and local fruit can provide a fresher, money-saving, GDP-boosting alternative to imported apples and other fruits not grown in the islands. Increased consumption of local fruit would not only help cut Trinidad and Tobago’s import bill but would also reduce food prices for local consumers and create new jobs and business opportunities in the fruit industry.
Vast array of fruits grown locally
A vast array of fruits are produced in Trinidad and Tobago, including balata, black sapote, breadfruit, caimite, canistel, cashew, cocoa, guava, hog plum, passion fruit, pommerac, primrose, rambutan, sour cherry, sugar apple, Surinam cherry, zabucajo, West Indian cherry, wax apple, tambran, stinking toe and more. Many people in Trinidad and Tobago do not even know the names of these fruits, much less how they taste, and the National Fruit Festival helped to change that.
The festival included all kinds of activities to raise awareness of local fruit, including watermelon- and citrus-eating competitions, a prize for the best poem and art poster on fruit, a parade, cultural performances and a fruit-carving contest. The festival also gave attendees the chance to take tours of local fruit-oriented enterprises. Participants agreed that the National Fruit Festival was a success and that Trinidad and Tobago’s fruit definitely passes the taste test.