Establishment of crop and livestock farms, including 7,800 '2-acre' farms and 16 large farms, on Caroni (1975) Ltd extensive sugar cane land holdings, is a key agricultural diversification policy initiative in Trinidad and Tobago. The development objective is the sustainable management of strategic agricultural land resources for increased food production, employment and food security. Field surveys conducted in 2008/2009 indicate that < 5% of 2- acre plots developed were occupied and < 3% engaged in productive agriculture, although high land development expenditure was incurred. Soil and land use investigations and analyses of the '2-acre' farms, conducted island-wide, confirm that agricultural utilization is adversely influenced by a range of technical and socio-economic constraints, including, inter alia, impoverished, acidic, heavy clay soils; inadequate drainage, insufficient irrigation and poor access infrastructure; land clearing, tillage and soil amelioration challenges; lack of technical and related extension support; and limited farmer training, knowledge and expertise in intensive soil and crop management. The '2-acre' farm model as proposed is not feasible as a production unit and has minimal impact on national food production and food security. An advanced integrated land use model (TTABA Model) is designed to mitigate the technical and socioeconomic constraints while increasing sustainable production of strategic food commodities - sweet potato, cassava, bananas, vegetables, legumes and tropical fruits- and while utilizing 7,400 hectares of former sugar cane lands. The TTABA model proposes consolidation of '2- acre farms' into discrete land management units, based on land capability criteria, and supported with the technical and financial resources to improve soil management, tillage, irrigation, agronomy, post-harvest quality, financing and market requirements for effective diversification to sustainable food production farms.


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