Knops: Islands should become more self-sufficient

Will Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius succeed in producing food themselves? The Dutch government in The Hague is of the opinion that the local governments in the Caribbean municipalities should do their best to support this. The islands are still dependent on expensive imports of, for example, meat, fruit and vegetables. If it is up to the House of Representatives, this must change quickly by producing food locally.

The Dutch government says it wants to faciltate this, by involving scientists from, for example, Wageningen University and the Ministry of Agriculture. In a letter, State Secretary Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations) emphasizes that he would like to see the full cooperation and dedication of the local politics for these projects.

He realizes that, before the islands can produce food themselves on a large scale, a special and innovative policy must first be developed for the islands. If the islands become more self-sufficient through agriculture and horticulture, the government would also help to combat poverty. “Good governance is a requirement for these programs to be implemented,” Knops says. “That requires efficient decision-making and continuity of the local government on the islands and local project implementation for which trust and commitment are the starting points.”

According to the Secretary of State, many ‘positive developments’ can already be seen: Projects are stimulated to grow vegetables with the salty water – water in which there is a lot of salt. Wageningen University has done research into goat farming. There is no future for the current approach, unless goat farming is professionalized.

In order to share knowledge and to increase interest in the cultivation of fruit and vegetables, a school projects were started on Saba and Bonaire.

 

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