The Caribbisch Netwerk reports that Saba would like to decide themselves how the Dutch funds for nature and agriculture will be used. According to Commissioner Chris Johnson, the negotiations with The Netherlands concerning the agricultural projects are experiencing delays because the Ministry of Economic Affairs distinguishes between nature and agriculture. ” We believe that we should take the decisions on the utilization of these funds ourselves , especially as Minister Ronald Plasterk ( Kingdom Relations ) recently said that the islands have to define their own priorities . We hope to clarify this before June,” says Johnson .
Saba has fertile soil that is ideal for agriculture. Growing your own crops has long been common activity. Acting Governor Franklin Wilson also advocates investing in local agriculture . ” All respectful nations in the world to invest in agriculture . With old-fashioned farming , we have to import less and we can see the high prices in supermarkets squelch , ” he says.
Saba currently has an organoponics ‘ garden. Last year, this initiative was nominated for a Crown Apple of the Oranje Fonds. Organoponics stands for organic bio – intensive gardening . The garden is part of the non-profit foundation’ Social Workplace Organoponics Garden ‘. The foundation provides employment opportunities to the unemployed who will receive agricultural education. Occasionally scientists and trainees can assist in the research .
” The sale of the crop promotes social cohesion among the students . They give something back to the community by selling local , healthy, fresh products that are relatively cheaper than in supermarkets , “explains Director of Saba Reach Foundation, La-Toya Charles. Saba Reach Foundation is the organization that is responsible for the management and coordination of the Social Workplace Organoponics
Johnson thinks farming could be developed on Saba if young entrepreneurs would take this seriously. ” They should be able to make a profit. I believe there is enough interest for such companies on Saba and St. Maarten , ” he says.
The agronomic engineer of the garden , Otto Anderez Manuel Ramos , shares the this opinion . ” We encourage the interest in the organoponics garden through excursions by the school . ” In addition, every Wednesday a fruit and vegetable market in the garden is organized, together with local farmers.
The Saba Reach Foundation has recently launched a ‘Agriculture Re – stimulation ‘ research , in collaboration with the University of Wageningen . In October last year, the Giusseppe Alessandrelloas Foundation, Master’s student Plant Sciences , worked locally as an intern . He has successfully carried out the research , which concluded that Saba has ideal conditions for mushroom cultivation . Alessandrelloas has created a guide for mushroom cultivation . However, he indicated , that first cheap mushroom cultivation kits need to be found.
Another intern , Diederik Leutscher – a bachelor student of VHL University – has created a folder in which all present farmers are mapped . The report of Leutscher also contains the names of residents who want to contribute to the development of agriculture.
Johnson says that the island government knows that the garden delivers many social and educational benefits, but indicates that the project for which they currently negotiate with The Netherlands, mainly focuses on support for local farmers . ” We want to ensure that the members of our local Island Council can take the lead in this project ,” says Johnson.