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Agriculture ‘is about dollars and cents’

CARDI

Farmers can no longer be in agriculture simply for the love of it. ‘If you are to be successful, it must be about dollars and cents; you must see it as a business’, so says Mr. Carlos Dillon, President of the sixty-five member strong Trinidad and Tobago Tropical Growers Association and a member of the Tobago District of the Agriculture Society of Trinidad and Tobago. ‘This Workshop identifies the challenges in forming a group and gives you the opportunity to strengthen your organisation’.

He was speaking at the recently concluded two-day EU-funded Group Dynamics Symposium, facilitated by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), held on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th June, 2013 at the Student Administration Building, UWI St Augustine Campus. The Symposium, titled ‘Improving the viability and competitiveness of agricultural industry through stronger farmers groups’ saw the active participation of some twenty-five agricultural stakeholders.

Mr. Mahadeo Rambharose, President of the seven year old Mayaro Greenhouse Growers Association, a fifteen member strong group, said of the Symposium, ‘It is really important in helping us as a group to clear the path in terms of helping us to understand the business of agriculture’. Mr. Rambharose is a career farmer of more than forty-five years and decided to take the plunge into protected agriculture and now his Association enjoys a long-term contract to supply sweet peppers to a local processor.

Building cohesion within farming groups represents a critical step for developing viable and competitive industries within the agricultural sector. Specifically, stronger groups assist farmers to collectively position themselves to capitalize on opportunities as it relates to effective production and marketing and hence increases the potential for livelihood improvement. Moreover, stronger groups allow for greater advocacy for policy development and strategic alignment of the value chains. Dr. Janet Lawrence, Head of the CARDI Trinidad Unit says that this programme was welcomed by all participants, and is demonstrable evidence of CARDI’s commitment to ‘building the capacity of farmers groups, to ensure sustainability and profitability’.

The objectives of the Symposium were to introduce participants to the principles and practices of “good” group management and performance; provide participants with practical tools and techniques to develop group cohesion and alleviate common problems/issues which may arise in the group development process; and highlight the role and function of groups in the development of agri-business clusters. With key outcomes for the participants to have a clearer understanding of the fundamentals of group dynamics; understand the basics for mediation of conflict and key techniques for sustaining groups; and understand the role of groups in the development of sustainable industries.

Presenters included Mr Robert Reid, Specialist in Agribusiness and Commercialization, IICA; Dr Ronald Dyer, CARDI CFC Group dynamics Specialist/Consultant, Trinidad; and Ms Kaye Trotman, CARDI CFC Group dynamics Specialist/Consultant, Tobago.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

CARDI

Farmers can no longer be in agriculture simply for the love of it. ‘If you are to be successful, it must be about dollars and cents; you must see it as a business’, so says Mr. Carlos Dillon, President of the sixty-five member strong Trinidad and Tobago Tropical Growers Association and a member of the Tobago District of the Agriculture Society of Trinidad and Tobago. ‘This Workshop identifies the challenges in forming a group and gives you the opportunity to strengthen your organisation’.

He was speaking at the recently concluded two-day EU-funded Group Dynamics Symposium, facilitated by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), held on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th June, 2013 at the Student Administration Building, UWI St Augustine Campus. The Symposium, titled ‘Improving the viability and competitiveness of agricultural industry through stronger farmers groups’ saw the active participation of some twenty-five agricultural stakeholders.

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Mr. Mahadeo Rambharose, President of the seven year old Mayaro Greenhouse Growers Association, a fifteen member strong group, said of the Symposium, ‘It is really important in helping us as a group to clear the path in terms of helping us to understand the business of agriculture’. Mr. Rambharose is a career farmer of more than forty-five years and decided to take the plunge into protected agriculture and now his Association enjoys a long-term contract to supply sweet peppers to a local processor.

Building cohesion within farming groups represents a critical step for developing viable and competitive industries within the agricultural sector. Specifically, stronger groups assist farmers to collectively position themselves to capitalize on opportunities as it relates to effective production and marketing and hence increases the potential for livelihood improvement. Moreover, stronger groups allow for greater advocacy for policy development and strategic alignment of the value chains. Dr. Janet Lawrence, Head of the CARDI Trinidad Unit says that this programme was welcomed by all participants, and is demonstrable evidence of CARDI’s commitment to ‘building the capacity of farmers groups, to ensure sustainability and profitability’.

The objectives of the Symposium were to introduce participants to the principles and practices of “good” group management and performance; provide participants with practical tools and techniques to develop group cohesion and alleviate common problems/issues which may arise in the group development process; and highlight the role and function of groups in the development of agri-business clusters. With key outcomes for the participants to have a clearer understanding of the fundamentals of group dynamics; understand the basics for mediation of conflict and key techniques for sustaining groups; and understand the role of groups in the development of sustainable industries.

Presenters included Mr Robert Reid, Specialist in Agribusiness and Commercialization, IICA; Dr Ronald Dyer, CARDI CFC Group dynamics Specialist/Consultant, Trinidad; and Ms Kaye Trotman, CARDI CFC Group dynamics Specialist/Consultant, Tobago.