Farmers on Saba will soon be able to plant a new batch of Dutch potatoes thanks to a donation from Agrico in the Netherlands, arranged through Sandra Cryns-Hop.
On Wednesday, November 10, a total of 42 bags of 25kg each arrived on Saba from the Netherlands. In total 22 farmers have registered to receive the red potatoes. The farmers will pay a symbolic low amount of US $1 per pound. The crops that these potatoes will produce will also be sold at local shops for the general population.
This is the second batch of Dutch potatoes that came to Saba. Last year, when the first batch came in, six different kinds of potatoes were sent from the Netherlands as a try-out. An evaluation with the farmers and Cryns-Hop, showed that one particular kind of red potato, named Alouette, did very well on Saba and could withstand the high winds on the hillsides. As such, it was decided to only send Alouette potatoes to Saba this time.
Last year too, the potatoes were donated by Agrico and arranged via Cryns-Hop, a farmer in the Netherlands who spent part of her youth on Saba when her father was engaged in agricultural development on Saba from 1976 to 1980 and set up the local Agricultural Department. Cryns-Hop said that her heart is on Saba and that she loves to help. Agrico is a Dutch cooperative that specializes in potatoes, innovates in the potato branch, and develops, produces and delivers strong potato varieties worldwide.
Commissioner in charge of Agriculture Rolando Wilson said that the farming and distribution of potatoes fitted in Saba’s ambitions to increase and improve agriculture, to become more self-reliant and more sustainable, and to have a healthy population by growing more local produce. He thanked Agrico and Cryns-Hop for their kind cooperation and their willingness to assist Saba. “It is very much appreciated, also by the farmers,” he said.
Saba has a longtime tradition of farming potatoes. Many years ago, Saba exported large amounts of potatoes throughout the Caribbean. The Saba white potato was quite famous at the time. The white potato is even part of Saba’s coat of arms representing the island’s rich tradition of agriculture and fisheries. The climate and rich soil make Saba a good place for growing potatoes.