The Foundation Social Workplace Saba (FSWSaba) is moving ahead in finalising a cooperation plan that will allow Wageningen students to undertake research on Saba regarding different scenarios for a local food market.
The positive signal follows discussions with the Science Shop and Foundation Otherwise at Wageningen University in The Netherlands that date back to the end of last year. The start of the research is planned for September, in what might become an ongoing yearly interaction.
FSWSaba’s SABAGRO initiative aims to increase knowledge about opportunities for commercial and private growing of herbs, vegetables and fruit, to create opportunities to use former farmlands, to increase local awareness about the benefits of using private gardens for growing herbs, vegetables and fruits, to create a local market for these products, and to promote vocational training for growing and marketing these products.
It is hoped that SABAGRO will stimulate vocational education in this area while at the same time it would encourage landowners to re-use their properties. The program would enable retail-shops to offer cheaper products of good quality, and is intended to reduce dependency on imported products.
The initiative will try to identify locations on Saba that are economically and technically viable for gardening. The research will outline necessary measures to re-animate old farms and possibly identify new locations, as well as select choices of growing products that will thrive and are in local demand.
The wholesome overview on agricultural potential is intended to create synergies for a lively and endurable new market for local fruits, herbs and vegetables. The ultimate goal is to create agricultural co-operation and a commercialization venue on Saba that will make the island more selfsupporting.
FSWSaba, which coordinates local opportunities for vocational and continuing education, had for some time been managing the Organoponics program, a local garden currently overseen by Otto M. Andérez Ramos, a technical expert in agriculture from Cuba, under the auspices and support of INIFAT. The garden is a protected workplace that provides fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers, and aims to be a resource and reference for local individuals, businesses and authorities. In this sense, building on the experience and aims of the Organoponics project, FSWSaba is taking the local lead in encouraging the broader study of viable options for sustainable agriculture on the island. Wageningen UR Science
Shop accepted the collaboration assignment proposed by FSWSaba and is currently searching for suitable candidates interested to pursue this work as part of their studies. The research will make students familiar with Participatory Scenario Development and is a chance to achieve work experience in the field of Regional Food Supply. The cooperation will be guided by a supervisory committee composed of experts from Wageningen and local representatives from Saba.
The initiative is closely coordinated with the local government’s efforts in this direction, with FSWSaba aiming to play the role of catalyst and providing the initial know-how for the individual and institutional stakeholders to be identified.