In my previous post, GIS a map to food security, I identified eight benefits of GIS technology. Additionally, I introduced you to the Land Information System of Trinidad and Tobago (LISTT) Parcel Viewer, a program under the Land Management Division of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Today, I want to explore how this application can further facilitate Agricultural Tenants (farmers).
Agricultural Tenants of the State are required to adhere to the statutory conditions of the Agriculture Small Holding Tenure Act. One clause of the Act that has a major effect on local farmers is Clause (2), which states, ‘Cane Land: The landlord undertakes and agrees that the tenant may use not more than one-fifth of the total area of the small holding for the purpose of growing food crops of the lessee’.
With this in mind, it is important that Agricultural Tenants make wise decisions when farming. Particular attention should be paid to the soil type, current market value of the commodity, cost of production, and expected yields. Topography can assist in providing answers to some of these questions.
Topography ‘involves the recording of relief or terrain, the three-dimensional quality of the surface, and identification of specific land forms’ (in Wikipedia retrieved February 28, 2014). Simply put, it is the physical features of the land. Examples of this are mountains, rivers, and plains. In agriculture, the topology of the area tells us the viability of the land for agricultural development.
The LISTT Parcel Viewer application provides the public with six different base maps, which include Satellite Image, Aerial Photo, Topographic Map, Terrain, Planimetric Map, and 1:10000 Parcels. Citizens such as Agripreneurs, agricultural tenants, value chains, and farmers on private lands can now access these maps 24/7 directly from their smartphone or personal computer.
Geomorphometry is another aspect of topography. It ‘extracts (land) surface parameters and objects using input digital land surface model and parameterization software’ (in Wikipedia retrieved February 28, 2014). This information can improve mapping and modelling of soil, vegetation, and land use. For example, swamps properly drained are excellent farmlands. Further to this, topographical information can assist in creating new standard agricultural leases or tenancy agreements that would better suit the needs of agricultural practitioners.
Standard agriculture lease also known as “Tenancy Agreements,” do not have provisions for livestock production or the manufacturing of value added products. The contract caters to the production of selected crops. However, the agriculture industry is expanding, and consumers’ tastes are constantly changing. Therefore, there is a need for adjustments to be made to the Agricultural Small Holdings Tenure Act.
LISTT Parcel Viewer does not just contribute to the development of the local agriculture industry but the development of the people as well by providing agricultural professionals with a new tool through this database.
While the local agriculture industry is still experiencing challenges, it also had some successes. LISTT Parcel Viewer is one-step in the country’s move to included technology in its developmental goals.
I encourage you to use this application and explore its full potential. If you have, any problems navigating the site just click on the help button on the right of your screen. A booklet will open up that would provide you with all the information you need to navigate the site efficiently.
I am always interested in reading what you have to say. In the comment box below tell me about one program in your country that is revolutionising your agriculture industry.