ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 80 Number 4
Farmers' perceptions of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) planting material and factors affecting the cacao industry in Trinidad and Tobago. (261)
In recognition of the need to revitalize the cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) industry in Trinidad and Tobago, a survey of 150 cacao farmers and their estates was conducted in the central, eastern, and southern regions of Trinidad to ascertain the performance and farmers' perception of cacao planting material in their estates and some of the factors responsible for the decline of the cacao industry in Trinidad and Tobago. A questionnaire comprising 38 questions was used for the survey. The results indicated that over 90% of the estates were planted with both clones and seedlings, of which over 70% were supplied by the Ministry of Agriculture. Fifty-seven per cent of farmers showed preference for seedlings as planting material compared to those who preferred clones (32%) or a mixture of both seedlings and clones (11%) and this reference was independent of region (P > 0.05). Factors such as labour cost, price of cacao beans, extension service, accessibility to estates (roads and bridges), and cost of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides were found to play a major role in the declining cacao output. These results are also of value for other cacao-producing countries where production is constrained as well by aging tree populations and the presence of plants susceptible to diseases and pests.
Keywords: Theobroma cacao L.; Cacao estates; Clones; Seedlings; Agronomic practices; Farmers' perception