Journal of
Agricultural Extension and Rural Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Agric. Ext. Rural Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2170
  • DOI: 10.5897/JAERD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 362

Full Length Research Paper

A Focus Group approach to exploration of the dynamics of farmers’ groups in Trinidad, West Indies

Marcus N. A. Ramdwar
  • Marcus N. A. Ramdwar
  • University of Trinidad and Tobago, O'Meara Campus, O' Meara Industrial Estate, Arima, Trinidad, West Indies.
  • Google Scholar
Valerie A. Stoute
  • Valerie A. Stoute
  • University of Trinidad and Tobago, O'Meara Campus, O' Meara Industrial Estate, Arima, Trinidad, West Indies.
  • Google Scholar
Wayne G. Ganpat
  • Wayne G. Ganpat
  • The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, West Indies.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 01 April 2014
  •  Accepted: 15 July 2014
  •  Published: 01 September 2014

Abstract

As part of its agricultural development strategy, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago plans to promote the development of Producer Organizations. Historically, the sustainability of farmers’ groups in Trinidad has been poor, with several unsuccessful interventions. This study seeks to do a preliminary exploration of some of the issues which could impact group sustainability, as perceived by the two main stakeholders - farmers and extension services staff. Purposive sampling was done to carefully select participants from pools of experienced farmers and extension officers. A single separate focus group session was conducted with samples from each of the two populations. The information obtained was subjected to thematic analysis to identify the key issues which resonated with both groups. The results of that study are reported in this paper, with important verbatim statements quoted in order to support findings. The major issues on which both stakeholders agreed were related to (i) the preconditions for group survival or failure and (ii) leadership.  Recommendations include: The review and modernization of the existing constitution which governs groups, governance training for leaders and potential leaders, and the introduction of decision making procedures in which members can participate.

 

Key words: Extension officers, focus groups, farmers’ group development, sustainability, thematic analysis.