Trinidad and Tobago: Agri-stakeholders want greater access to funding and education

Farmers and agricultural suppliers believe Trinidad and Tobago is well poised to make the necessary changes to shift to greener production of agriculture while ensuring food security, despite being faced with knock-on effects from climate change and a pandemic.

Owner of and trainer at Conscious Agricultural Sourcing Agency (Casa) Vinda Dass said his family moved away from traditional farming techniques because of the losses incurred by flooding, other natural mishaps, and praedial larceny.

The business, with locations in St Augustine and Chase Village, Chaguanas, provides consultations and technological-based solutions in hydroponic and aquaponic systems, training and support, and solar system support to farmers.

Dass said he was exposed to hydroponics and aquaponics through the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, where he was trained, and eventually incorporated greener sources of energy into his farming techniques.

“The ministry always has little courses for the public, and I got myself involved in aquaponics and took it to the highest level through my own studies thereafter. From there, the natural progression was hydroponics.”

While in the process of learning and making investments to get into hydroponics farming, he realized that there was an unreliable source of energy for the system and opted to invest in solar energy. “I advise and push anyone who wants to get into hydroponics and aquaponics to get into solar for a reliable source of energy. Also, it is safer for the environment, which is very important.”

Dass said solar energy and new farming techniques were slowly catching the attention of farmers, and a stream of inquiries about it showed a positive step to green sustainability. “We try to show them the benefits of using solar pumps compared to using gas or diesel. The feedback towards solar in agriculture has been gaining momentum over the last three years,” he said.

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