Entrepreneurs Brownsweg: Sales opportunity for products needed

Entrepreneurs Brownsweg: Sales opportunity for products needed

Suriname - 23 mei, 2024

'There is an urgent need for outlets for the products. Our products deserve to be sold so that we can make a profit from them.' This was the request of one of the participants in the project "Agroforestry for Empowerment and Improved Land Management" of Tropenbos Suriname, TBS, during the closing of the activity, held in Brownsweg. However, in the immediate vicinity of Brownsweg there is a limited number of potential customers, which makes the sale of the products difficult. Therefore, participants emphasize the importance of looking for alternative sales channels elsewhere. An orientation visit was also made to the agricultural lands of Captain Lambertus Waandels, Itsel Edeling, Jan Finisie, Hilda Afonsoewa and Edith Tooy. The project with a duration of 16 months started in November 2022. The aim of the project is to promote adaptation to climate change and improve landscape management through agroforestry training and guidance. The financing comes from the GEF-Small Grants Program Suriname, and the implementation takes place in Brownsweg, Brokopondo district. Agroforestry includes land use, systems that combine the planting and/or active management of trees with agriculture or livestock farming. The agroforestry training was provided by Humprey Warsodikromo and Ivan Karnadi.

“In the villages, people come from the city to supply products that are also grown locally,” explains Veronique Hankers, project assistant at TBS. "During the krutu's and training it is always emphasized that the local population should buy from local producers. At least they know how the crops are grown and that no pesticides are used when they buy from their own people. In addition, this improves the local economy strengthens.
Another challenge is transporting the crops to the city. Because transport costs are included in the sales price, the products are more expensive than those from farmers closer to the city. As a result, the products of the inland residents are hardly sold.

'Farmers also want to grow on a larger scale, but they do not have all the facilities, such as machines for tillage, manpower and storage spaces, to realize this. In many villages electricity is not yet available 24 hours a day, meaning they cannot cool the products. Transport to the agricultural plots is also a challenge, which means the plots are often neglected or poorly maintained.

A lot of shifting cultivation is currently being practiced inland. Shifting agriculture is a small-scale form of agriculture in which a piece of land is cultivated for one or a few years, after which it is abandoned to develop a new piece of land. After a number of years they return to the same piece of land. TBS promotes a more permanent form of agriculture and therefore actively encourages this among the communities there. People will have to spend sufficient time on the agricultural land, but the advantage is that the land is continuously improved and investments made are not lost.

The focus is mainly on growing earth fruits such as cassava and sweet fries. The farmers want to manage their agroforestry plots themselves, which means that they grow, harvest, possibly process and trade crops themselves. The main goal is to generate tangible income by growing and selling marketable plants and trees. This system is currently used in the upper Suriname river area. It is important that the residents of Brownsweg master the basic principles of both agriculture and tree cultivation when creating and managing the agroforestry plots.

Hankers found it interesting to see that some of the participants participated very enthusiastically in the project from the start and really wanted to do more with agriculture. They have experienced firsthand the effects of climate change on their land. 'In 2022 they suffered from flooding that lasted for months, and last year they suffered from a prolonged drought, which resulted in crop failures. That is why they want to learn how they can respond to these developments in the future. During heavy rainfall, farmers often cannot reach their agricultural plots, or they are even completely flooded.'

TBS is working on setting up a processing unit for farmers in the area. The unit would include storage space and a processing machine for making cassava flour. The organization will continue to guide and support the people.

Published on May 20, 2024 on www.starnieuws.com.