Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (test)

Plant breeding programs in Trinidad and Tobago

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago have had impressive economic growth in recent years, for example reaching 12% in 2006. The main driving force continues to be the energy sector, which includes oil, natural gas and related products. On the contrary, agriculture continued to turn in a mediocre performance and now contributes less than 1% of GDP.

Three main institutions conduct agricultural research in Trinidad and Tobago with some emphasis on plant breeding and to a lesser extent on plant biotechnology. The three institutions MALMR, CARDI and UWI are public sector agencies.

The main breeding programmes concern rice, hot peppers and cocoa. The work in maize is limited. Resource allocations were mainly for germplasm enhancement and line development.

The limiting factors of the success of plant breeding programmes in Trinidad and Tobago seem to be wide and varied. However the lack of knowledge and support as well as the lack of resources to implement work at the laboratory or field level can be pointed out as the most limiting ones.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding

Public Institutes


Ministry of Agriculture Lands and Marine Resources (MALMR)
Website available in English

The Research Division in MALMR has not had a unit specifically devoted to plant breeding. Agronomists from the various sections have done some aspects of breeding during the period under survey. Resource allocation has been mainly in rice followed by vegetables and maize, as well as cocoa more recently.


CARDI Trinidad and Tobago
Website available in English

CARDI is a regional public sector organization founded in 1975 and is headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago at the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies. The research and development thrust of the Trinidad & Tobago CARDI Unit has been on hot peppers, small ruminants and organic agriculture. The hot peppers programme has focused on selecting and stabilizing the landraces of Trinidad and Tobago and compiling production and marketing tech-packs. Recently, the research and development portfolio of CARDI Trinidad and Tobago has expanded to include the validation and transfer of technologies for developing the sweet potato and cassava industries in the twin-island republic.


Crop Research Section (University of the West Indies)
Website available in English

The University has expanded to four campuses that serve diverse communities across the Caribbean region - all of which deliver high-quality education, research and services to all 15 contributing countries that support the University, as well as the Turks & Caicos Islands. It started plant breeding in 1960 and biotechnology as early as 1984. The UWI has a strong Biotechnology Department staffed similarly to the plant breeding section.


Information by Azim Hosein (2009). - Information based on the Trinidad and Tobago's full report from the PBBC survey. Last revised 24-06-2010, GIPB.