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Developing a Love Affair between Rural Agriculture and the Media

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Developing a love affair ... ... between Media and Rural Agriculture Produced by Dr. Eugenia Springer Developing a Love Affair Video Clip One – Making do without support of media We have been using "Tell a man" and "tell a woman" meaning this person buys it or ... ... I give a sample to this person and that is something that we do freely. We give out samples; and somebody taste it – they like it – they say, “Boy, check this out" "Check that out".That is all the movement we have had. I think the media could highlight agriculture in the community... ... because we have farmers here who have been doing good farming ... ... for lots of years. Over 20 years! When I just started doing what I am doing. I used to come to Mr. Fariah... And I found that out by the way, by “tell a man”, again. So if the community can be exposed - as to the type of produce that comes out from... ... the area. I think it should be very, very helpful for the farmers. People will know that "Listen, Valencia is a good place to go for pepper." . Video Clip - Two : Challenges We have an integrated development programme. We have several programme components: all agricultural of course! We have ornamental production, we also do seedlings, we do crop production ... …and the over arching philosophy of what we do is ... ... really based on an eco-sensitive approach. So we move away almost completely from the use... …of toxic pesticides and mineral fertilizers, and so on. It's more in an organic farming type mode. It's a methodology that we want to see spread... ...throughout Trinidad, even throughout the Caribbean. Things like say, producing not just one crop, but a range... …of crops, which we call intercropping. So that, pests don’t have the opportunity for infesting one crop. They are there; they see the crop; they like the crop; they remain there. This intensive type of production has led us... …down the road to the use of heavy pesticides... …and the continuing escalation in terms of prices... …and mono-cropping kinds of approach. So, it is a poly-culture type of approach. ADB (Agricultural Development Bank) wrote us recently to come in for a loan. But when we go now, they want to see a lease, ... ...and the government isn’t giving you the lease. It’s on file. Over 30,000 applications on file. I applied …since I am here…for the past, say, how long? The past thirty years; up till now we cannot get a lease. They gave us the land and then they said the land was badly worked; ... ... so they took it back. And they planted these trees in order to maintain the watershed. But ever since, they have not been coming. Forestry is taking no care of it, so every year... …now… fire is coming, and we have to ... ... out the fire in order for the fire not to come into our place. So … the ADB wrote us … telling us to come in for a loan. Because, you know, the government put up a seventy five million dollars worth. Usually when they put the money it has to be recycled back into the budget, ... ... because it is not spent. One of the biggest issues faced by farmers is the inability of farmers ... ... to secure land tenure. The financing agency that is positioned to assist farmers is ... ... the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB)… ...and the first requirement that they would need... ... is having you prove your land tenureship. The government has recently allocated 75 million (TT) dollars ... ... in the recent budget, for agriculture; with a standby of another 75 million ... ... to be put in if needed. But a big draw back is that ... ... the farmers cannot access the loan and it is to be noted that 95 % ... ... of the nation’s food in Trinidad is produced on land that farmers have no tenure-ship for. We have not been qualified based on the land problem - that is, we don't have ... ... the proper documents, that we can say that we have a lease or such as ... ... to go to the ADB comfortably with the hope of securing loans. The government is anti-agriculture. The amount of pressure they give us through the years with agriculture -... ... to grow it is problem; to buy fertilizers- it’s 300 dollars and 350 dollars a bag. (50kg bag) And that went up to 500 a bag ... And yet, some of them - their prices going up by the seconds. You go now and you buy something, and the next minute you just go back... ... and the price is changed. If there is a water program in place in like manner ... the Plum Mitan area -- (with) the farmers there... ...where they have a proper irrigation system whereby… ... you can put in water in ... .. a system that even though the rain happens to come in heavily there is .. ... a system that can take off water. So it would not cause flooding ... water management. Farming has been so competitive and the naiveness of the farmers. They have always had the misconception that if they keep a degree of ... ... secrecy in their business, it could work to their benefit. The contrary is true! This group was formed just about - approximately 3 years ago. We have a membership of about 40 odd farmers. We have - like 150 acres of land cultivated - that is down in the Tabaq area. Some 50 farms which are owned by families - 50 farming groups. All are members of the Tabaquite Farmers’ Association, with about 300 employees ... ... and over a thousand (persons) dependent on these farms; like people... ... who get whatever income from the farm itself. When we did our irrigation system, we paid for the expertise. After we learned how to do it, Kelly - did all the farmers’ irrigation systems for them. Just went and put down all their systems for them in the same way we did ours… … estimate it for them, and went and stick up all the pipes for them, ... ... and get in the irrigation system for them.No charge! All the farmers used to work together. Everybody.. One week you plant by this guy, the next week you come by us. Like that – the same thing with harvesting… It’s called gayap! Gayap! I am stressed out, this last week, they stole about 3000 - 4 000 pounds of watermelons. And the things were not even properly ripe but at the present value of it, at $2.50 a pound,... ...whole sale, could be around eight to ten thousand dollars. I even invited the president of the Agricultural Society ... ... the president of the Agricultural (Development) Bank, ... visit my field to see what I am producing, ... ... to see how much I am producing; ... ... and to see the damages that were done by the bandits ... The funding agency together with CARDI ... ... they visited a number of growers including myself. In Valencia and in Trinidad (in particular) , most of the successful farmers ... ... have started their operation with self-financing. They have built on the operation, they have sacrificed – some at the expense... ... of families, and other things - to build their operation. And at this point to carry it beyond just production, to supply a local market,... We need State intervention. I would like to be able to be empowered ... produce food efficiently at a low cost that could cause my profit margins ... ... to go up and to create employment - sustainable employment - for my community. I would like to farm between fifty to one hundred acres. We are presently in negotiations with IICA to have some input ... ... into the sector in Valencia concerning market and some other issues. We started a producers’ Coop(erative)... ... where all the producers of goat and sheep products ... ... will be members. And hopefully now we can infiltrate the market. Video Clip Three – Agriculture for Arts and Craft Jewels of Nature - natural musical instruments and crafts… Jajah Oga Onilu, Craftsman Collection includes the: rain stick, bamboolin, drumland, eco-bow, and eco-harp. Carvings and sculptures by Rupert Atwell, Sculptor. Collection includes: The System, and the Village. Funded in part by: IICA (The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture) CARDI (Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute) The Ministry of Agric. Land and Marine Resources Government of Trinidad & Tobago ES Productions © 2009 Contact: [email protected]

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 38 seconds
Year: 2009
Language: English
Producer: ES Production
Director: Eugenia Springer
Views: 689
Posted by: on Nov 18, 2009

Rural farmers, in Trinidad, talk about their success stories and challenges. In the Valencia agricultural district, manufacturer, and pepper farmer, Christopher Greenidge, displays his products; Lawrence Lalla, explains problems of land tenureship; and papaya farmer, David Paponette, anticipates collaboration between farmers and IICA. On his farm in the Maracas Valley, Alexander Smith & family, practice intercropping. In Caura Valley, Agronomist Shango Alamu, Ph.D. lauds intercropping and organic farming. In Fishing Pond farmers apply for land tenureship. In Tabaquite, the Badal sons & families, farm collaboratively, and successfully. In Gran Couva, Phillip Lewis grows tomatoes hydroponically in greenhouses. Dr. Anthony Griffith heads a Caricom initiative in small ruminants farming.

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