As the implementing agency for the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) Project titled ‘Diversification of the Caribbean Livestock Sector through the production of small ruminants’, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) hosted a series of training workshop over the past six months, on ‘key elements for improving small ruminant productivity in Trinidad and Tobago‘. The goal of this training curriculum is to build the capacity of technical personnel, producers and other key value chain actors in the production and marketing of small ruminant products.
The training course (administered via six modules) attended by an average of 40 persons per sitting, sought to provide participants with opportunities to share and improve their knowledge, practises and skills in small ruminant production and marketing. Participants were exposed to various aspects of the value chain; along with an overview of the status of the local small ruminant value chain, enterprise development, improved production and marketing technologies including value addition, food safety and post-harvest systems and group development and agribusiness cluster development. The modules covered the areas of Enterprise development; Tropical forage establishment, production and utilisation; Animal Production and Health; Value addition; Food safety management systems; and Value chain development.
Assessments to determine the change in knowledge and skill of participants revealed that at the end of this course, participants had not only improved their capabilities of the technical aspects of small ruminant production and marketing; but also had a better understanding of value chain development.
Sessions were held at the Centeno Livestock Station and the Sugarcane Feeds Centre, Trinidad. Participants included farmers, extension officers and university students. This is the first of three cycles planned for Trinidad and Tobago. During the third quarter of 2014, small ruminant farmers in Central and South Trinidad will be targeted for participation in the course. One cycle will also be implemented in Tobago.
The small ruminants sector is one of the fastest growing segments of the agricultural economy in many developed and developing countries, propelled by revenue growth and supported by technological and structural changes, coupled with an enabling environment. The two main beneficiaries of the CFC Project are Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Other funding partners are the Government of Jamaica; the Government of Trinidad and Tobago; and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).