Partnership to promote organic consumption

(Today in Seychelles 25 Oct 2014) Nature Seychelles and the Geffroy farm signed an agreement on Thursday with the aim of creating an organic network of food production for Seychelles. “The fear that agricultural food and nutritional production could hinder the progress of tourism or any other sector is a misplaced fear,” Minister for Natural Resources, Peter Sinon said on Thursday on the occasion of the signing of s partnership agreement between local NGO Nature Seychelles and the Geffroy Farm at the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman.

Minister Sinon was recalling his message on World Food Day. He added that “agriculture in Seychelles can only complement our nation as a small island developing state”. Dr. Nirmal Shah, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nature Seychelles told this newspaper in an interview that agriculture was becoming outdated and too resource dependent whereas the organic way was simpler. “Sure there is the constraint of time and money but in the end you can ensure that an organic product reach the table of many Seychellois,” he said.

The partnership between Nature Seychelles and Geffroy’s Farm began in July this year with the aim of strengthening non-governmental organisations and private sector relationships. The book “Grow and Eat Your Own Food Seychelles” by Nature Seychelles launched in June this year is what inspired local farmer, Jean-Paul Geffroy to take an interest in the works of the NGO. Both parties have held regular discussions as to how they can work together in mutually beneficial projects, towards the creation of an “organic network” for Seychelles together with other stakeholders. The agreement they signed principally formalized this continued working relationship.

Through this agreement, Nature Seychelles will intensify its organic farm and enhance its ongoing Green Health programmes, like yoga for instance. “We will benefit from Geffroy’s expertise in this domain as he would provide guidance to our programmes and in turn he will learn from our environmentally friendly initiatives,” Mr Shah told TODAY. Mr. Geffroy had duly noted in this respect that “food security was a challenge for the nation, especially ensuring that the current demand of the population is met in full”.

He also noted that he was very pleased that “the partnership has reached this far because there was no better way to give back to society”. The farmer wishes to inculcate in other people the benefits and importance of backyard farming. “Personally I believe that it is more to farming than just business and profits,” he told this newspaper adding that “I have been motivated by the impact such positive change will have on the generations to come”. Mr. Geffroy also said that he had been particularly inspired by President James Michel’s efforts both locally and internationally towards the existence and survival of the small island developing states (SIDS).

The guests at the ceremony were treated to a taste of some local products as refreshments after they toured The Sanctuary’s Heritage Garden. Mr. Geffroy also had on display some cow manure and seedlings of plants from his farm based at Anse Royale. His farm was selling these seedling plants at very low prices to the general public so as to initiate backyard farming in Seychellois homes. The plants were selling for as low as SCR1 while the more expensive plants were being sold for SCR 5. “I hope to meet both commercial and domestic needs through this sale,” Mr. Geffroy said.

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