Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries, Trinidad and Tobago

Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries, Trinidad and Tobago

Promoting Diversification and Food Security in Trinidad and Tobago

I am proud of the way I’ve been able to build on my father’s legacy. He used to rear animals at home. My farm is growing. I’m creating employment buying, machinery and equipment as well as expanding my farm.

Khemraj Singh, Farmer, Felicity Farms

CONTEXT

Sugar cane was the most important crop in Trinidad and Tobago well into the 1990's, but falling production and revenues led the Government to divest and restructure the industry. A National Adaptation Strategy was developed and in 2007, the European Union stepped in to support the restructuring through the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries (AMSP) Programme. Working with the TT Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, the EU also sought to support the country's agricultural and economic diversification, food security and sustainable development.

OBJECTIVES

  • Support agricultural and economic diversification.
  • Increase domestic food production and related downstream activities.
  • Increase food security.
  • Mitigate the social impact of the divestment.

RESULTS

  • Government interest in and commitment to increasing alternative agricultural production and food security was renewed.
  • Infrastructural support resulted in the construction of access roads and irrigation ponds to support further agricultural development.
  • The capacity of the government, agriculture-related agencies and other stakeholders to implement their responsibilities was increased through the provision of technical assistance including in the areas of: water management and irrigation; collation and reporting of agricultural statistics; surveying for pesticide residues on agricultural produce; and, training of MSE's and agro-processors on food quality and safety standards.
  • Farms have been able to expand and adopt modern farming techniques due to access to technical and vocational training as well as low cost financing and incentive programmes.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • Training programmes completed for approximately 2 500 farmers
  • Access roads constructed for 17 agricultural estates within 28-divisions
  • Four mega-farms established

TESTIMONY

Commercial Large Farms Get a Much-Needed Boost with EU Support

Khemraj Singh and his family utilize 100 acres of farmland in Felicity to grow a variety of crops such as cabbage, sweet peppers, tomatoes and sweet potato.  In all the family produces about two million pounds of sweet potato alone annually.

"Mechanization is the best way to go," says Khemraj, showing off the drip irrigation system in his cabbage  field.  "With this system, I can water and fertilize my fields with little wastage."

Kemraj was also able to purchase a water gun from Italy. "Long ago we used to water plants by hand with buckets, but with this system, I can water 8 acres at a  time. By modernizing the farm with techology I have been able to save on labour costs.

"With backing from the Ministry of Agriculture, I have purchased more than $7,000,000.00 in machinery and equipment over the past ten years through loans from the Agricultural Development Bank. I get rebates up front on the items purchased for use on the farm. This has helped me because I can utilise that money and re-invest into the farm."