Nexus interventions for small tropical islands: case study Bonaire. Food from the Land.

Like most small tropical islands, Bonaire is largely dependent on imported food. This results in high food prices due to import taxes andtransport costs, and high vulnerability towards price fluctuations andglobal developments, which both present major risks to food security. With many inhabitants living on or below the poverty line, low incomes translate into eating cheap unhealthy food, often causing health issues. While 25% of Bonaire’s surface consists of rural areas suitable for on- land food production, current practices of agriculture are small scale, mainly due to small domestic markets and limited access to freshwater, electricity, human capacity and know-how, while the widely used practice of extensive husbandry results in suboptimal yield and severe grazing- induced erosion issues. Sustainable development of agriculture and husbandry on Bonaire thus provides a great opportunity to increase food security, but requires a holistic (nexus) approach that accounts for the local socio-economic setting and the interlinkages between the water, food, energy and ecosystem domains, to identify trade-offs and seek for synergies among these domains. Several nexus interventions are presented that will aid sustainable development of the agricultural and livestock sector, while simultaneously contributing to water, energy, ecosystem and nutrition security. Identified key nexus interventions are: strong policy aimed at facilitation of fenced livestock keeping, water-saving agriculture, decentralized solar power, development of an agro-business and knowledge centre, and development of educational programmes on sustainable agriculture and healthy diet.

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