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Integrated soil and water management on smallholder family-farms in building resilience to hydrometeorological hazards in Trinidad

Roop, Ramgopaul; St. Martin, Chaney C.G.; Weaver, Miles

Authors

Ramgopaul Roop

Chaney C.G. St. Martin



Abstract

Hydrometeorological hazards (droughts, floods, and heatwaves) threaten the life and livelihoods of the most vulnerable people worldwide, including the 500 million smallholder farmers who directly depend on seasonal rainfall and marginal soils for food production. These hazards potentially limit smallholder farmers' productivity and profitability, particularly those already working on problem soils, such as acidic-heavy clay tropical soils with hardpan layers. This paper examines the effective use of integrated soil amelioration practices, micro-fertigation systems, cropping patterns, and farm management as risk-mitigating measures against hydrometeorological hazards on-farm. The research uses Ro-Crops Agrotec family farm (1.5 ha) as a case study and mixed-methods analysis. It identifies and characterizes key turning points in the farm's transformation from being part of the landing strip of a former WWII US Army Air Forces Base to a model of an agroecological farming enterprise. It demonstrates methods of converting traditionally mono-cropped (sugarcane)-heavy clay degraded lands with a pH of 3.5 into a productive and lucrative year-round multi-cropping enterprise with sustained soil pH of 6.5 through on-farm research and collaboration with agricultural institutions. The analysis identified hydrometeorological hazards and soil challenges as critical for triggering a culture of evidence-based decision-making and sustainable farm planning. Strategic multilevel alliances, addressing land tenure issues, and implementing practical business management practices were also critical in developing and preserving the farm's sustainability over 25 years. Though not generalizable, the case study presents practical information that can guide the on-farm management of hydrometeorological hazards to transform degraded lands into sustainable and productive units.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (Published)
Conference Name Caribbean Science Symposium on Water: Building Resilience in the Regional Water Sector to Address Climatological and Hydrological Risks and Threats
Start Date Mar 23, 2021
End Date Mar 25, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Jun 28, 2021
Book Title Caribbean Science Symposium on Water: Building Resilience in the Regional Water Sector to Address Climatological and Hydrological Risks and Threats
Keywords Water; Sustainability; SDGs
Public URL http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2783523
Publisher URL https://www.caribbeansswater.com/