Progress in making agriculture sustainable | March 11th, 2009

Fundar Galapagos, a Galapagos NGO, is working to improve the quality of agriculture in the Galapagos.  If you have visited any of the main islands, you will have seen the impact of agriculture on the humid zones.  What was scalesia forest are now weedy, poorly managed fields.  Large parts of the agriculture zone are producing only blackberries, guava and other weeds, because agriculture is not seen as an attractive career and there is no reliable market for agricultural products.  Almost all the food eaten by residents and tourists is imported from the mainland and those imports pose a major biosecurity risk.

In a report on biosecurity for the Galapagos produced in 2000, Paula Warren (a member of our committee) recommended that there should be major changes to the way food is provided – produce that poses a low import risk, like meat, should no longer be produced on the Galapagos; produce that can be safely produced in the existing agricultural zone should no longer be imported; and some produce should be banned completely (e.g. tomatoes can interbreed with the native species, but are also a high import risk).

Last year, Fundar ran a training course on “Green drops of life: irrigation and organic agriculture as a productive alternative for Galápagos”. 45 agriculturists of the four inhabited islands of Galápagos participated. During the course, the Manager of INGALA – the agency responsible for regional planning for the province – pledged INGALA’s full support for the creation of farming policies that are integrated within the objective of sustainable development. He emphasized the importance of creating long term objectives for each region and closely looking at the agricultural aims. 

Let’s hope that progress is made, so that the impacts of agriculture and food consumption can be greatly reduced.