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.
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