ISSN: 0041-3216

About Tropical Agriculture

Origin and objectives of the Journal

The Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA), was formally established at St. Augustine, Trinidad, on August 30, 1921. In 1924, the College published the first number of what was to become its official journal, Tropical Agriculture, for the publication of articles on international tropical agricultural research.

The publication as such, continued through the years until 1959, as in 1960 the College became the second campus of the University College of the West Indies (UCWI) - an external college of London University, and the ICTA became the Faculty of Agriculture of the UCWI. In 1962 the UCWI became a university in its own right - The University of the West Indies (The UWI). The publication of the journal was continued throughout the transition periods.

Management

a. Editorial
Under the management of the Faculty of Agriculture, the Journal has had five (5) UWI-appointed Editors-in-Chief: Mr. G. B. Mansfield; Professor F. W. Cope; Professor F. A. Gumbs; Professor L. A. Wilson; and most recently, Professor E. J. Duncan, who have held responsibility for publishing the journal. They have all been given policy guidance by a Faculty Editorial Board (FEB), drawn from membership of the Faculty. There is also an International Editorial Board (IEB), chosen by the FEB, of distinguished scientists world-wide, in the disciplinary areas covered by the journal, to adjudicate on matters of scientific rigour. All manuscripts submitted to the journal are peer-reviewed.

b. Administrative
The day- to- day administration of the journal- under the aegis of the Faculty- is effected through the Dean, the Editor-in-Chief, and a TA Management Committee, comprising the foregoing, the Managing Editor and Heads of the Departments of the Faculty. Former Heads of Departments may also serve.

Publishing

Over the 1954 -1992 period, the journal was published in London on behalf of the ICTA, and later Faculty of Agriculture, by Butterworths Scientific Ltd and IPC Science and Technology Press. However, in 1993, publication was taken over by the Faculty on the St. Augustine campus in Trinidad.

Policy Focus

While maintaining its geographical scope, TA has established a disciplinary policy which seeks: to address the practical aspects of tropical agricultural production and improvement; to encourage application of modern scientific and technological advances to solving the problems facing agricultural production and remove constraints to production; and to encourage application of the results of original research which make a significant contribution to knowledge.

Disciplines Covered

The disciplines covered by the journal include: Soils; Environment and Agro-Ecology; Geography; Crops; Livestock; Post-Harvest Technology; Food Science; Food and Nutrition; Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management; and Extension.

Contributors

Submissions and subscribers to the journal come from Asia (India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia), Africa, Europe, The United States of America, Canada, Austria, Australia, Latin America and the Caribbean Region. Eighty five percent of submissions are from tropical developing countries of which India and Nigeria are the most prolific contributors.

A Historical Overview of the International Journal Tropical Agriculture

Tropical Agriculture was first published in 1924 as a scientific journal of the then newly instituted Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA). It was printed by the Government Printery of Trinidad and Tobago. In the first issues, scientific articles were concerned with research carried out at the Imperial College with interpretations for a wider tropical environment. The Journal grew in stature rapidly and became accessible as a medium for publication to scientists working in the tropics as a whole. Since Tropical Agriculture was first published, many changes have occurred in tropical and subtropical environments at political, socioeconomic, and technological levels. However, many of the developing countries which emerged still depend heavily on traditional export crop commodities like sugar cane, coconut and oil palm, cocoa, coffee, tea, and bananas, all researched and developed in the first half of the 20th century, at the ICTA.

In 1954, a decision was taken to transfer the publication of the Journal to Butterworth Scientific Ltd. in the United Kingdom. An International editor, Mr. G.B. Masefield was appointed and an Editorial Board established to formulate policy and manage the business of the Journal. When the ICTA became the Faculty of Agriculture of the University College of the West Indies in 1960, the Board became an integral part of the Faculty. In 1962, the independent University of the West Indies was established and in 1972, Butterworths and the Faculty of Agriculture agreed that 1PC Science and Technology Press Ltd. would publish the Journal. This arrangement continued until 1982 when Butterworths resumed publishing Tropical Agriculture on behalf of the Faculty.

In this latter period, when UWI Professor of Botany, Frank W. Cope (deceased), was Editor-in-Chief, the opportunity was taken to upgrade the format and cover design of the Journal as well as to enlarge its volume and page size. An International Editorial Board was appointed and the Journal adopted the SI units in its publication. The editorial policy was also modified in accordance with established procedures of the best scientific journals of the world.

Currently, the Journal is recognized as one of the leading publications for scientific papers on tropical agriculture and is circulated worldwide to major agricultural institutions and libraries. Over the years, Tropical Agriculture has developed a fully international outlook, a reputation for accuracy in publication and distribution, high scientific quality, and a high level of editing, resulting in the absence of typographical and other errors.

In the second half of the 20th century, a few developing countries have become self-sufficient in grain production using the Green Revolution Technology of the International Agricultural Research Centres. But in all developing countries, population growth combined with rapid urbanization has made increasing agricultural production mandatory, not only for development but also for avoidance of malnutrition, hunger and in some cases, famine.

In January 1993, on the 70th anniversary of its establishment, The University of the West Indies Press and the Faculty of Agriculture assumed full responsibility for publishing Tropical Agriculture towards further improvement of the reputation of the Journal. Dr. Frank Gumbs, Reader in Soil Science in the Faculty, was appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Journal. Professor Gumbs died in 2004 and Professor Lawrence A. Wilson was appointed Editor-in-Chief in March 2005. Professor Wilson died in 2013 and Professor Edgar Julian Duncan was appointed Editor-in-Chief in January 2014. The University is committed to improving the quality of the Journal to serve as a vehicle for disseminating scientific information for the development of agriculture in the tropics and to satisfy the needs of subscribers and the scientific community.

The journal of Tropical Agriculture has made a significant contribution to tropical agriculture through the publication of research results on the many constraints to tropical agriculture development. Many of these findings have been implemented in the tropics and the journal continues to be a source of information to researchers in tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions. In the early years of the journal, most of the articles were in the areas of crop and soil science, but today the coverage has increased substantially to include other technological areas, for example, livestock production and mechanization and topics in the social sciences, for example, economics of agricultural production and agricultural extension methodologies. Significant contributions have been made in these areas. The journal recognizes the need to address both the technological and sociological constraints. If tropical agriculture is to develop, technology must be relevant to the social context in which it is to be applied, towards successful and sustained adoption.

Because temperatures in the tropics are high throughout the year, plant and soil respiration consumes a much higher proportion of the products of photosynthesis than in temperate climates. This immutable feature of tropical agriculture obliges farmers to adopt suitable systems of soil organic matter management. Such practices are part of an agro-ecological approach to arable agriculture rather than an agro-industrial approach.

It is pertinent to recall that this agro-ecological approach to tropical farming was espoused in Trinidad as long ago as the 1930s by the late Professor Frederick Hardy, the first scientist on the staff of the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in its Department of Chemistry and Soil Science. The UWI Faculty of Agriculture has, since taking over from ICTA, continued to promote this approach to soil productivity in the tropics over the last five decades, not least through conferences it has convened on Tropical Soils in 1973, Clay Soils Management in 1980, and Biological Nitrogen Fixation in 1981. The Faculty had also taken a lead role in promoting research on tropical root and tuber crops both by convening the first International Symposium on Tropical Root Crops on the St. Augustine Campus in 1967 and by publishing the proceedings thereof.

In 1998, the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC) formed at the second symposium in Hawaii in 1970, returned the 11th symposium to Trinidad and Tobago, the country of its origin. In celebration of this occasion, Tropical Agriculture published the Proceedings of the 11th Symposium as Issues 1 and 2 of Volume 75 of the Journal.

The policy of the journal is to address the practical aspects of tropical agricultural production and improvement. It is concerned with the applications of science and technology to the understanding and removal of constraints to tropical agriculture, including the results of basic scientific research on topics that pertain to agricultural development. The articles must contain the results of original research which make a significant contribution to knowledge but which have not been published elsewhere. Tropical Agriculture may occasionally invite review articles on topics of significant importance, selected by the Editorial Board. Additionally, we welcome reviews in areas covered by the journal, submitted by authors. These are processed as other submissions are.

The journal continues to receive large numbers of articles from researchers from all over the tropical world, and significant numbers from the United States of America and Australia. We have received and welcome articles from the non-English speaking tropical and subtropical countries including China, Japan, the Middle East and Central and South America. We endeavour to make each issue truly international in scope and diverse in content so that it can continue to appeal to a wide scientific readership.

Over the last 50 years, international and national agricultural research systems have made major contributions to increasing agricultural production, not only through increasing productivity but also through extension of the land area under cultivation. Both approaches, but particularly the latter, have led to ecological problems. Indeed, in certain areas, the very basis of agricultural production has been seriously impaired. As a result, the notion of agricultural sustainability and the call for environmental conservation are increasingly insistent considerations.

In the meantime, proposed policies of globalization, free trade, and dismantling of international protected markets threaten the survival of traditional export crop commodities and hence the foreign exchange earnings capability, particularly in small developing countries. Consequently, suggested strategies of diversification and intensification of sustainable agricultural production pose new challenges for researchers in tropical agriculture.

It is in anticipation of active participation in the resolution of these challenges that we were pleased to return the publishing of Tropical Agriculture to the site of its conceptualization and early production on the St. Augustine Campus. However, in so doing, we thank Butterworth Scientific Ltd. of London for publishing and improving the journal on our behalf since 1954. We also celebrated 70 years of publishing of Tropical Agriculture with an international conference in 1994.

Tropical Agriculture thanks its many subscribers who have continued to support this publication. The journal simply cannot survive without this support. We are embarking on a marketing drive to increase sales and reduce unit cost. We are also endeavouring to reduce the cost of publishing without sacrificing quality, so that we can pass the savings on to our subscribers. We plan to publish the journal for many years to come and are prepared to make the necessary adjustments to meet the needs of our subscribers and readership.

The editorial office welcomes and appreciates your choice of Tropical Agriculture for publishing your research work. Please contact us if we can be of any further assistance to you.

Tropical Agriculture Office
Faculty of Food and Agriculture
The University of the West Indies
St Augustine Campus
Trinidad and Tobago
West Indies
Tel: 1-868-662-2002 Ext 82210/82088/82720
Fax: 1-868-663-9686
Email: Tropical.Agri@sta.uwi.edu

Aim, Objectives, Scopes and Audience

Scope of Tropical Agriculture Disciplinary Areas

Aim and Objectives

The overarching aim of Tropical Agriculture is to contribute to the process of agricultural development in tropical agro-ecosystems, through publication of papers in the area of agricultural science and technology. The specific objectives of the Journal are:
  • To address the practical aspects of sustainable tropical agriculture production, improvement, protection and commodity utilization, worldwide.
  • To foster the application of science and technology to understanding and removal of constraints to tropical agricultural productivity.
  • To publish the results of original research which make significant contributions to knowledge on the practice of sustainable and productive tropical agriculture.

Expanded Scope

The Journal publishes papers in the following areas of tropical agriculture:
  • Soil Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science and Technology
  • Crop Science and Technology
  • Livestock Science and Technology as well as
    • Food and Nutrition Policy
    • Post-Harvest Technology
    • Agricultural Economics and Extension
    • Agribusiness

Audience and Submission

Tropical Agriculture has been publishing and continues to publish papers by agricultural scientists worldwide since 1924 without any publication fee. However authors are requested to cover the mailing cost for off-prints.

Submissions for the journal have come from Asia (India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia), Africa, Europe, United States of America, Canada, Austria Australia, Latin America and the Caribbean Regions. Subscribers have come from these geographical areas as well.