TOBAGO GOOD FOODS PROJECT
The Tobago Good Foods Project was designed and implemented successfully by EUROCHAMTT from January 2014 – July 2017. The project concept was a response to the needs of hotels and restaurants in Tobago for high quality locally produced foods from raw materials grown in Tobago and for new agro tourism activities. Good food refers to food from producers and processors that practice good, agricultural and processing practices that respect human health and the environment and promote sustainable agriculture. The idea is for ‘good foods’ to become part of the product offered in Tobago. The concept is also consistent with the branding of Tobago as clean, green, and serene and therefore this project will contribute not only to higher quality agro products but also to the branding efforts of Tobago.
EUROCHAMTT’s strategy for attaining the project objectives included:
- Sensitising producers through workshops on the opportunities and requirements for expanding production in selected areas feasible for Tobago and already active in Tobago. In particular, workshops have been held on queen bee rearing to expand honey production, tree crops, fruit dehydration, dairy goat farming, organic agriculture and permaculture;
- Facilitating selected producers with their business plans;
- Production improvements at the farm level including rehabilitation of tree crops, training of labour, introduction of better systems and technology on the farm (proper tools);
- Expansion of production at the farm level through new plantings: setting up of nurseries;
- Basic food safety training at the processing levels;
- Upgrading processing facilities to meet basic food safety requirements;
- New product development and improvement at the processing level and in particular developing high end niche products;
- Support with graphic design to improve identity, labels and packaging;
- Support to farms to introduce agro-tourism and tours as a way of earning additional income and also as a channel for marketing their niche products;
- Support to become certified in basic food safety in some cases and organic agriculture in some cases.
The project has derived benefits in terms of both agricultural production and agro tourism products in Tobago. Some of the accomplishments thus far include:
- Implementation of four permaculture designs and systems to produce fresh vegetables and herbs at: Audrey's Garden Centre, Glorious Farms (Company Warren Peters Trading Ltd.), Blue Haven Hotel and The Villas at Stonehaven, Black Rock;
- Tree crop Rehabilitation work at four estates which entailed major pruning of trees as well as planting of new trees and training of workers: two (2) fruit tree estates: Paradise Island Products/ Carnbee Gardens and Adventure Eco Villas and two (2) Cocoa Estates: Footprints Eco Resort and Spa and Charlotteville Estates Ltd.
- The fruit tree estates have also benefitted from support of a food technologist to develop and produce new, high fruit content and quality products with no artificial preservatives. The estates also benefitted from training and upgrades for food safety compliance.
- The upgrade at Charlotteville included field training in Charlotteville on cocoa pruning and maintenance for twenty-two (22) workers from the National Rehabilitation Watershed Re-afforestation Programme; Growing cocoa in Tobago however remains a challenge due to damage by parrots so while the cocoa estates have benefitted in terms of greater yields, parrot damage has not decreased.
- The completion of three (3) dairy goat farms namely the Hill farm; Farm Mapp and Dave Moore/ DKM. The upgrade at Orange Hill farm included an upgrade of pens and installation of an outdoor Café to attract persons to the farm and all three farms have benefitted from technical advice leading to the upgrade of stock, quality and expansion of production levels of milk. Two of the farms have also received additional support for their business plans and upgrades as a result of the Tobago Good Foods technical expert.
- Technical support to five (5) advanced Beekeepers: Queen Bee rearing has been very successful and all have doubled the production of queens with significant potential to expand hives and colonies. During the final mission of the Apiculture Expert, training was extended to the wider beekeeping community in Trinidad and Tobago. A new apiary has also been set up at Footprints Eco Resort and production is of a high quality and expanding.
- Nine of the beneficiaries have also benefitted from graphic artists to produce new identities/ logos, labels and packaging designs and these are currently being reviewed by Chemistry Food and Drugs Division, towards Certificate of Sale.
- Organic Agriculture: twenty (20) persons were exposed to one and a half days of organic agricultural training in preparation for certification and 5 farms received specific advice on requirements to meet organic certification.
Apart from the agricultural production aspect, the project has now created new agro tourism sites which offer a unique experience to local and international visitors to Tobago: visits to tropical fruit, dairy goat farms, beekeepers and cocoa estates. All of the sites are generally attractive and offer opportunities to sample and buy products.
The project is expected to come to an end by mid year once the certification process is complete but can be expanded and replicated to more sites in Tobago.
Beneficiaries of Tobago Good Foods and Featured Products