Oranjestad, 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 Covid 19 pandemic, the logistics of imported food supply has 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 minimize dependency on importing meat, fruits, vegetables and fish, an inventory of the current supply was made. “We call upon 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 on Statia, the production of meat on the island must be increased by threefold. To foresee in feed needed for the animals, grass from the airfield can be utilized. 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 extra freezing container. For the public to access locally produced meat, the market at the slaughter house, now held once every two weeks on Friday, will be expanded. Pre packed meat from will be sold daily from Monday to Friday from 7.30 AM till 3.30 PM. Besides the meet market, at High 5 supermarket local meat can be purchased 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 are receiving a drip irrigation system, provided by ENI. A water truck for farmers is being introduced. In the long term, the use of public wells will be reassessed, Concordia well specifically, to make more water available.
Regular access to farm machinery is another obstacle in the upscaling of yield. Statia’s local government continues working with farmers to regulate the availability of farm machinery and attachments available. Farmers will be given priority in booking tractors and other farm equipment, to allow them to plan ahead and grow more.
After a round of talks with the fishermen of Statia, it was concluded that currently they have taken their own initiative to increase the catch and sale of marine products. At this moment in time, no additional measures are needed to increase the availability of marine products.