Building Small Scale Farmers’ Capacity to Implement Sustainable Farming Practices in Trinidad’s Northern Range

About the project

This project is designed to address the issue of land degradation which is considered a focal area within the context of the UNDP Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP). The project is developed as part of a larger initiative being implemented by The Cropper Foundation and its partners that seeks to build capacity of small-scale subsistence farmers within the Northern Range to implement sustainable farming practices (SFPs), explore opportunities for improving livelihoods and food security, and reduce the negative environmental impacts of unsustainable hillside farming.

The project will draw on lessons and experiences of a recently-concluded project in the Maracas and Caura watersheds of the Northern Range (titled ‘Implementing Sustainable Farming Practices in Trinidad’s Northern Range Communities - EcoAgriCulture’) and will seek to:
1. Undertake a baseline assessment of farming conditions in three Northern Range watersheds1 (Santa Cruz, Lopinot and Aripo Valleys)
2. Design a strategy (intervention strategy) for engaging farmers, building capacity and providing technical support for the implementation of SFPs in the selected watersheds
3. Design and implement a pilot approach for enhancing community governance arrangements in the selected watersheds
4. Implement SFPs in one of the selected watersheds.


In meeting its objectives, the project will address the following environmental issues in the use of unsustainable land clearing practices by farming communities on hillsides, such as slash and burn, which can increase soil erosion and water runoff, thereby exacerbating flooding in low-lying areas at the foothills of the Northern Range:
• The lack of soil stabilization techniques in farming practices which result in soil erosion and nutrient depletion
• The unregulated input of inorganic chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides), which affects water quality in key watersheds in the Northern Range
• The reduction of biodiversity on farms due to pesticides and mono cropping techniques
• Need for better information on linkages between agricultural activities and the environment in order to support decision and policy-making at the local and national levels
The main activities of the project are:
1. A Baseline Assessment of farming conditions in the three target farming communities;
2. Participatory design of strategies for implementing sustainable farming practices in the farming communities;
3. Capacity development in community governance in the farming communities; 4. Implementation of SFPs in one of the selected watersheds.

The progress of these activities will be tracked against the achievement of milestones, and success of the project will be assessed using a set of targets and indictors that have been developed along the lines of the UNDP GEF OP5 project level indicators.


Who finances it?

The project’s activities are designed to be implemented over a period of 18 months, and a total budget of US $216,968.94 has been determined for the project, of which US $138,684.78 is being requested from the GEF SGP; US $52,430.12 will be provided as a counterpart cash (64%) and in-kind (36%) contribution from The Cropper Foundation and its partners; an estimated US $25,854.04 will be provided as a counterpart in-kind contribution from the farming communities.

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