A Trade Competitiveness Study of the Vegetable and Fruit Industry of Trinidad and Tobago

The vegetable industry in Trinidad and Tobago provides more than 75% of the fresh vegetables consumed in this country. Vegetables are produced using intensive, semi-intensive and subsistence systems and most are traded at the wholesale and municipal markets located in the main towns and cities. Some fruits, such as watermelon and pineapples are also produced using intensive systems, while others such as citrus use both intensive and semi-intensive systems. The industry employs a significant number of rural, sub-urban and urban residents in production, marketing and other facilitating services. It also plays a strategic role in the nutrition of the nation given the high per capita consumption and the capacity of the local industry to satisfy this demand: In the Uruguay Round of the WTO that was implemented in January 1995, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago adopted a system of relatively low tariffs that offered very little protection to the local industry against competition from imports. Additionally, during the period of structural adjustment of the economy that included liberalisation of the domestic market, the industry adjusted to a system of reduced support and increased competition. This has led to the production and sale of vegetables and fruits at some of the lowest prices in the CARICOM region Within recent years however, there has been significant increases in the importation of certain fresh vegetables, some of which are produced locally. This has lead farmers to express their concern and dismay, given that the country has the production capability. The Nominal Protection Coefficient was computed using prices for fresh agricultural produce from Miami Terminal Market, as well as domestic wholesale market prices during 2000/01. This was used to assess the price competitiveness of the domestic fresh produce industry against imports. From the results obtained, a 68% tariff (maximum) will be required to protect the cauliflower industry against imports from the USA. The other commodities of the study (tomato, melongene, cabbage, pineapples and papaya) are quite competitive and no tariff protection is required, except for tomato during certain short periods of scarcity. Given these results, it will be difficult to support an argument against free trade or to ask for protection for the vegetable industry in Trinidad and Tobago in the upcoming WTO negotiations.

Issue Date:
Jul 09 2002
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
Record Identifier:
Total Pages:

 Record created 2017-11-29, last modified 2018-01-23

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