Assessing farmer field school as a sustainable agricultural methodology for farmers in Trinidad and Tobago

Pest management is one of the most limiting factors to crop production in Trinidad and Tobago. Surveys conducted in 1995 revealed that pest control is the single largest expense, accounting for 30 - 40 % of total crop production costs (Lopez et al. 1995). One of the problems identified was the transfer of both existing and new technologies to farmers to ensure development of their knowledge base, leading to sustainable agricultural production. A pilot Farmer Field School (FFS) project in 2003, introduced the use of Farmer Participatory Approaches (FPA) for Ecological Crop Management (ECM) in Trinidad and Tobago. During the period 2004/2008, thirty eight FFS have been conducted with over 400 farmers participating. In order to assess the FFS as a sustainable agricultural methodology, a survey of 106 farmers, who had participated in FFS over the period 2003-2008, was conducted in May 2009. The factors studied were demographic, institutional, environmental, social and economic. The farmers were interviewed in groups in the field and their responses captured using the meta card system of voting. Basic frequency analyses were carried out which indicated that more than 90% of the farmers were very satisfied with the institutional arrangements, became more knowledgeable of the factors related to the environment and agreed that the knowledge gained from the FFS empowered them to make more sustainable agricultural crop management decisions. More than 79% of the farmers had adopted the integrated pest management (IPM) technology transferred using the FFS methodology and are currently using these IPM practices. This paper outlines and underscores the need for continued assessments of Farmer Field Schools and related Farmer Participatory Approaches to determine whether they could be used as sustainable agricultural methodologies for farmers in Trinidad and Tobago.

Badrie, Neela
Issue Date:
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
DOI and Other Identifiers:
978-976-634-010-0 (Other)
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JEL Codes:
Bridgetown, Barbados 6th-10th July, 2009
Series Statement:
Proceedings of the West Indies Agricultural Economics Conference

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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