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Thirty-two cassava farmers in Trinidad empowered through farmer field schools

16/07/2019

Port of Spain, Trinidad – Thirty-two farmers from Penal and Exchange in Trinidad successfully expanded their production knowledge of cassava through the Farmer Field Schools (FFS).

 

The project, funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and executed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), conducted a 9-month training, where farmers received critical information on cassava development including the latest information on varieties and yield-boosting production technologies. The training presented a wide range of topics such as the growth and development stages of cassava, safe application of pesticides, pest, disease and weed management and harvesting and post-harvest techniques done in the field.  The FFS sessions also focused on reinforcing farmers’ knowledge on consumer and market potential for cassava and its by-products. 

 

Extension services in Trinidad scaled-up through a Training of Trainers

Twenty-four Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries (MALF) Extension Officers benefitted from the Training of Trainers (TOT) course prior to their training of the farmers in agri-production. The MALF divisions that contributed to the entire TOT and FFS were the Extension, Training and Information Services (ETIS), Regional Administration South (RAS) and Regional Administration North (RAN) and the Communications Unit. Other agencies contributed to specific FFS sessions like  the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (NAMDEVCO), the Agricultural Development Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (ADB) and The University of the West Indies (UWI).

Dr Vyjayanthi Lopez, Plant Production and Protection Officer at FAO expressed her satisfaction on the overall execution of the Farmer Field School, stating that with the knowledge gained, the farmers are better equipped to provide for themselves and their families, with the possibility of providing jobs for others and stimulating the spirit of entrepreneurship in Trinidad.

Dr Lopez indicated that, “some farmers have already started their own cassava production and with their high level of confidence and determination, I have no doubt they will succeed.  This augurs well for us at FAO as we will soon complete similar training that is ongoing in Tobago and Suriname, and embark on two new FFSs in Dominica under the project”.

Meanwhile, Bernadine Ramoutar, one of the FFS graduands from Exchange stated, “I am a better farmer now and I am thankful for the experience. I have applied my new knowledge to the other crops I grow”.  Her sentiments were echoed by Romulus Ramoutar also from Exchange who expressed, “I learnt practices that I would not have considered before and I now have a better understanding of the importance of good agriculture practices”.

In Penal, Stephanie David claimed that  “After this experience I am planting cassava on the land, and I’m now linked with a buyer of cassava”.

With an increased local consumption rate of cassava and its derived products the FFS exposed farmers to relevant topics which enhanced farmers’  cassava crop production strategies and marketing. 

 

For more information:

 

Vyjayanthi Lopez

FAO Plant Production and Protection Officer

Email: vyjayanthi.lopez@fao.org

Tel: 1-246-426-7110

 

Marquita Sugrim

FAO National Communications Consultant

E-mail: marquitajuanne.sugrim@fao.org

Tel: 1-246-426-7110