In 1997, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago establish a National Soil Testing and Advisory Service for farmers. Following the closure of Caroni (1975) Limited, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago have initiated plans to allocate to 7,000 former Caroni workers two (2) acres parcels of land for farming. The Soil and Land Capability Unit have been mandated by the Ministry to sample and analyze these parcels of land. The Unit’s protocol is to do two (2) samples per acre, at two depths 0-15cm and 15-30cm.
Soil testing is done throughout Trinidad and Tobago by a dedicated team of officers and assistants. The service also provides Soil Surveys, Cartography and Land Capability Reports.
Land Capability Reports are done for (a) Town and Country Planning (b) Agricultural Development Bank and (c) Private Farmers.
On average of fifty (50), Land Capability Reports are prepared per year for an approximate acreage of 100,000 acres.
The beneficiaries are mainly the farming community but also Town & Country Planning Division can make informed decisions re change of land use in areas.
- Provide diagnostic services to improve crop yields through proper and timely application of soil ameliorants and fertilizers.
- Provide Land Capability Reports to Government agencies.
- Provide soil surveys and soil mapping for researches, farmers and government agencies.
- To sample soil on an average of 1000 farmer’s holding yielding 7,500 samples for chemical analysis.
- To recommend fertilizer and soil ameliorant in order to improve crop yields.
- To recommend crop suitability to soil type and fertility on farmers’ holding and provide reliable data towards increasing farmers’ confidence.
- To facilitate lecturers and demonstrations to educational institutions.
- To conduct various research programmes such as :-
- Integrated Soil and Water Management for improved Crop production in Puzzle Island District, St. Patrick.
- Research on soil ameliorants for acid soils.
- Research on Red Palm Mite in Coconuts – Joint project with CABI
- Biofertiliser Research Technology and Application in Trinidad and Tobago.
- Soil and Land Use Surveys – Cocoa Soils and Cocoa Estates in Gran Couva.
- The resilience of sugar cane soils
- Research – Amelioration of soils to mitigate heavy metal contamination of cocoa beans