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Abstract

Restructuring of the sugar industry in Trinidad and Tobago has released 12,158 hectares of sugarcane lands for agricultural diversification. Caroni (1975) Limited, a state enterprise sugar company controls 31,000 hectares, representing 25% of the best available arable lands in the country. Soil, land capability and agro-ecological analyses conducted on Caroni (1975) land holdings indicate that 67% of the lands are in Class III and IV, representing good agricultural lands with moderate soil fertility, and 33% of the lands are in Class V, VI and VII, depicting marginal agricultural lands. Continuous sugarcane production with sub-optimal soil fertility management programmes has resulted in soil nutrient and organic matter depletion of lands, soil acidification, and land degradation with a consequent reduction in agricultural productivity. The technical and operational considerations for proposed diversification programmes to root crops, rice, vegetable crops, tropical fruits and livestock in relation to water management, soil technology for heavy clays, crop selection, farmer training, extension, credit and support systems are presented. The implications for food and nutrition security, and sustainable production systems in Trinidad and Tobago are highlighted.

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