Carola Schouten, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, will visit the Caribbean Netherlands from September 2nd to September 6th, 2019. The visit is aimed at strengthening mutual collaboration and the progress of various projects in the area of agricultural and horticultural development, nature conservation and fishing in Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire. In addition, there will be attention for the question of how the independent food supply on the islands can be increased.
During the working visit, the program is focused on the themes of nature conservation and local food security in relation to agricultural and horticultural development and fishing. The Caribbean Netherlands’ food supply is largely dependent on import and the local food production is vulnerable to climate change, water shortage, water pollution, and erosion. As a result, groceries are expensive and fresh food is not always available. Circular food production and efficient use of resources are essential for a more self-sufficient food production. Minister Schouten will visit different projects which use new forms of smart agriculture that contribute to enhancing the own local food supply. During these visits, there will also be attention for the exchange of knowledge and ideas in the area of circular agriculture.
Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire
Minister Schouten will start her working visit to the Caribbean Netherlands in Saba, where she will be informed about efforts in the area of the protection of corals and local vegetable cultivation, among others. She will subsequently travel to St. Eustatius, where she will have talks with local fishermen, market vendors and the Dienst Landbouw, Veeteelt en Visserij (LVV; Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Service). The Minister will conclude her trip on Bonaire, where she will visit various agricultural entrepreneurs, an initiative for healthy food for children and a variety of organizations which are active in nature management.
In order to improve the quality of life and to expand prosperity, the government uses Regional Deals to invest in the social-economic development of the Caribbean Netherlands. The government has provided €30 million from the Regional Envelope for Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius. This will, among others, be used for poverty reduction, and the enhancement of food security and food safety in the Caribbean Netherlands. Minister Schouten will visit different projects financed from the Regional Envelope.