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Gender and Land Rights Database

Trinidad and Tobago

In 2007, the population was estimated at 1.303 million, of which 653 549 was male, or 50,2 percent, and 649 639, or 49.9 percent was female (28).  In 2004, the rural population attained 24 percent of the total (4). The average population density was 257 persons per sq. kilometre. Around 95 percent of the total population lives on the larger island, Trinidad (1). Most part of the population is of African or Indian descent, comprising 37.5 and 40 percent of the population respectively, while the rest of the ethnic mix is of European, Chinese or Middle Eastern ancestry (2). Christianity is the largest faith, followed by Hinduism, Islam and the traditional African faiths (3).

In 2008, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)  using the official exchange rate was estimated at 24.81 billion USD in 2008 (6). In 2006, measured at constant US$2 000  prices, the agricultural GDP was US$90 million, constituting 0.7 percent of the total GDP (10).  Per capita GDP, using purchasing power parity, in 2008 was US$23 600 USD (6).  In 2006, measured at constant US$2 000 prices, the per capita GDP was  US$10 392, while the per capital agricultural GDP was US$903 (10). In 2008, agriculture constituted 0.5 per cent of the country’s GDP, while industry and services constituted 62.3 percent and 37.2 percent respectively (6). Economic growth for the past seven years has averaged slightly over 8 percent, above the regional average of about 3.7 percent for that same period. Growth has been fueled by investments in liquefied natural gas, petrochemicals, and steel (6). The country is the leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas, and its economy is heavily dependent upon these resources. Oil and gas accounts for about 40 percent of GDP and 80 percent of exports, but only accounts for 5 percent of employment (6). The country is also a regional financial centre, and tourism is a growing sector (7).

Agriculture - including the sugar industry - plays a minor role in the economy. Within the last two decades, there has been a significant decline in the level of output: export oriented agriculture and the sugar industry are the sectors where output value has actually fallen over the past 10 years (8). Agriculture’s share of GDP has declined from 5.0 percent in 1985 to 2.2 in 1999 (9). The share of the labour force in agriculture has also declined from 10,8 percent in 1985 to 9,1 percent in 1999 (9). The country is highly dependent on imported food with imports over the period 2003-06 averaging 2.6 million tonnes per annum. This compares to very low domestic agricultural outputs which continues to decline (8). As of 2004, 72.5 percent of agricultural holders was engaged in crop farming activities, 10,6 percent was involved in rearing livestock, and 16.3 percent in both crop and livestock activities (11). Most holdings are relatively small. In 2004, the total area of all holdings was 84 990 ha with an average holding size of 4.5 ha. While 33,9 percent of all holdings fell into the size group from to 2 to less than 5 ha, 22.2 percent of holdings were less than 0,5 hectares in size (11).

With a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.837 in 2007, the country ranks 64th out of 182 countries with data (12). The proportion of population below the national poverty line has fallen from 35,9 percent in 1992 to 16.7 percent in 2005 (13). Between 2000 and 2007, 13.5 percent of the population was living with less than US$2 per day (12). Life expectancy at birth in 2007 was estimated at 65,6 years for males and 72.8 for females (12). Literacy rates in 2007 were 99.1 percent for males and 98.3 percent for females (5).

In 2007 the Economically Active Population (EAP) was 1.333 million and in 2006, the EAP in agriculture was 47 000 or 7 percent of the total EAP in 2006 (10). In 2007, the labour force participation among population aged 15-64 was 82.2 percent for males and 60.3 percent for females (5). Women and men make similar labour contributions to agriculture. Women are more involved in vegetable production on small farms or plots, where there is joint management of the enterprise between conjugal partners. Land is mostly jointly owned but the husband assumes responsibility for the farm and for crop selection. Women’s contribution is significant in regard of other household tasks, including child care and food preparation, for which women are responsible (14).

Historical events, governmental policies, economic factors, and popular customs have produced a multifaceted land tenure system. The management of agriculturally usable lands in the public domain has relied on long-term leases granted by the state to private farmers. The 1941 legal notice entitled, Land Grants -Temporary Provisions- Regulations made state-land use rights transferable through leasehold rather than freehold tenure. As a result of this policy, the state remains the major property owner in the country, with responsibilities of selecting lessees of land, enforcing the terms of leases granted, and collecting rents owed (15). Beginning in 1992, initiatives that affected the cadastral system and land administration were taken (19). Several new pieces of legislation were introduced, namely: the State Land -Regularisation of Tenure- Act of 1998, the Land Adjudication Act of 2000, the Registration of Titles to Land Act of 2000 and the Land Tribunal Act of 2000. The latter three are known as the Land Title Legislative Package and were created to support the systematic titling and registration of all land in a new parcel-based land title register. The Regularisation of Tenure Act was created to support the regularisation of tenure of the informal occupation of state land (19). These laws are intended to provide the legal framework of the general objective of the Land Adjudication and Registration Programme -LARP- which aims to improve the reliability of the real property rights system in the country. The Programme also intends to clarify land tenure to support the development of the land market and promote more efficient use of land resources for the implementation of broader national environmental sustainability strategies. Finally, through the Accelerated Land Distribution programme, the Government has made available lands for agricultural lease. The Regularization of Squatters under Cabinet Minute 436 of 1999 provides persons in unauthorized occupation of State Agricultural Land with the possibility to qualify for regularization (15).

Although women can purchase land easily, few of them do, and most female-managed or owned farms are inherited from parents or spouse (14). Overall, 85.3 percent of all private holders are male, while 14.7 percent are female (11).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography