Production and utilization of tropical root crops in Trinidad and Tobago. (139)
Keywords:Root crops, Sustainable production, Plant genetic resources, Processed products
AbstractThe root crops consumed in Trinidad and Tobago that are of significant economic importance are cassava, sweetpotato, yams, and dasheen. The Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources provides education and training courses for farmers and research programmes in agronomy, crop protection, and post-harvest handling. Two significant aspects of the Government's policy that have continued to provide a strong basis for the sustainable production of root crops are the on-going maintenance of its plant genetic resource base and the training programmes both in-house and in the field. Root crops are generally manually harvested in quantities that are saleable within two days in the markets minimizing the need for storage. Processed products include frozen cassava, chips, and farine which are consumed locally. Export and processing operations have fluctuated because of inconsistent supplies. However, there is a marketing thrust to stimulate production via increased utilization locally through the school-feeding programme. Root crops, therefore, will continue to significantly contribute to sustainable food security in the next millennium.