ST. EUSTATIUS–The public entity of St. Eustatius is increasing efforts to make sure sufficient fresh meat and crops will remain available at all times. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the logistics of imported food have become vulnerable.
In meetings with farmers, owners of poultry farms and fishermen, a number of necessary investments have been identified to ensure food security through self-reliance.
To increase food security in any scenario in the future and to minimise dependence on importing meat, fruits, vegetables and fish, an inventory of the current supply was made.
“We call on the people of Statia to buy local. This is a way to empower our local food producers into taking their role in making sure our community has sufficient access to fresh products when times are tough,” says Government Commissioner, Marnix van Rij.
To match the demand for meat in Statia, the production of meat must be increased threefold. To foresee feed needed for the animals, grass from the airfield can be utilised. The Directorate of Economy, Nature and Infrastructure (ENI) is also exploring stocking up on imported feed from the region.
The increase of workload at the slaughterhouse will be tackled by recruiting additional butchers. Storing the increased volume of fresh meat is made possible by deploying an additional freezing container.
For the public to access locally-produced meat, the market at the slaughterhouse, now held once every two weeks on Friday, will be expanded. Pre-packed meat will be sold Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 3:30pm. Local meat can be purchased at High 5 supermarket as well.
Access to water is one of the main bottlenecks for farmers to start growing more fruits and vegetables. All farmers who do not already have a drip-irrigation system will receiving one provided by ENI. A water truck for farmers is being introduced.
In the long term, the use of public wells, Concordia well specifically, will be reassessed to make more water available.
Regular access to farm machinery is another obstacle in the upscaling of yield. The public entity said it is working with farmers to regulate the availability of farm machinery such as tractors and other equipment.
The fishermen of Statia have taken their own initiative to increase the catch and sale of marine products. At this moment, no additional measures are needed, the public entity said.
Bron: Daily Herald