Kaboom! Blowing up illegal fishing boats helps local fisheries

Blowing up illegal fishing boats helps Indonesian fishers, says a new scientific study. Indonesia, one of the world’s leading producers of tuna, decided several years ago it had had enough of illegal foreign fishing boats entering its waters and taking an average of $4 billion a year in fisheries profits. This strategy, as astonishing as it may be to us in Seychelles, seems to have worked as a deterrent.

Continue reading “Kaboom! Blowing up illegal fishing boats helps local fisheries”


Food Insecurity – The Next Zombie Apocalypse

Sounds like some B movie? Well, it was to get your attention to talk about the coming food scarcity. Seychelles ranks last in Africa as regards investment in agriculture. Old news you say. Indeed, I reported on this dubious distinction twice already in my articles in the local media. But it seems that the dire news has not really found traction in the general Seychellois populace, the private sector or most government ministries outside the agriculture sector.

Peter Sinon, The Minister for Natural Resources seems to be the lone voice in the wilderness. He said in the National Assembly this week that his Ministry is working to remove obstacles which are hindering the progress of the agricultural sector . This move is really necessary but I wish the entire country would pay attention to what global experts have been calling “the coming food crisis”. Continue reading “Food Insecurity – The Next Zombie Apocalypse”

Sorghum Superhero and the divide between African mainland and island states

The 2009 World Food Prize, worth USD 250,000 has been awarded to Dr. Gebisa Ejeta an Ethiopian who is professor of agronomy at Purdue University in the US. (http://www.worldfoodprize.org/press_room/2009/june/ejeta.htm) Ironically, the prize flags up the divide between mainland Africa and at least one of its island states.

Known as the Sorghum Superhero, Ejeta has been honored for developing Africa’s first hybrid and high-yielding sorghum varieties tolerant to drought and the devastating Striga seed. This in turn accelerated crop productivity and gave rise to the first commercial sorghum seed industry in Sudan. By 1999, one million acres of the hybrid had been harvested in Sudan, says the Science and Development Network (http://www.scidev.net/en/sub-suharan-africa/features/ethiopia-s-sorghum-superhero.html)

But Ejeta’s work is seemingly irrelevant to us here in Seychelles. Sorghum is so little know in this African island nation that it has no local name. I have tried in vain to quiz experienced agronomists and farmers in Seychelles for a Creol name for Sorgum. Whilst sorghum is one of the most essential grain crops in Africa (made into breads, porridges, and beverages), its importance in Seychelles has been supplemented by rice and wheat and others such as maize.

Yet, sorghum grows well in Seychelles. At the award winning Heritage Gardens at Roche Caiman, Nature Seychelles has grown three harvests of sorghum with little effort. But because this grain is not utilized by the local population, the birds have befitted from nutritious feed.

My father, coming from an Indian tradition, gave me the seeds to plant at the Heritage Garden. He himself had grown the plant many years before on a property by the sea so he knew that it would do well here. He even tried to mill the seeds and make bread out of it.

Rice and wheat are not grown in Seychelles but are imported. On the other hand Sorghum grows very well. So why is it we are not growing this important food plant? Is it simply out of tradition and “what came first”? Whatever the case, should we not be eating foods that we can grow locally instead of relying on imports to satisfy some of our basic nutritional needs?

After last year’s global food crisis, national food security strategies in many countries have taken on board a very important element of self suficency, abandoned by so called modern economies some time ago in favour of focusing on competitive advantages. We should start doing the same right here in Seychelles.