President of Parliament Arrindell Meets with Agriculturist Ras Bushman

As part of the President of Parliament’s ‘information gathering consultation sessions,’ last week, the Hon. Gracita Arrindell met with Agriculturist Roland Joe better known as Ras Bushman.


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Bushman’s philosophy is ‘we are what we eat.’ ‘When we talk about farming we look at agriculture.’ He has been involved in agriculture since 1985 and has farms above his Ital Shack on Bush Road, St. Peters and Marigot Hill. At one time he also cultivated land at the Emilio Wilson Park.

Bushman says that more use should be made of hilltop areas where persons can’t build due to the hillside policy. Land is scarce on the island. He added that planting in that area could be done in an environmental sustainable manner.

Job creation is an area that agriculture could make a positive contribution. It’s also an area where persons convicted for small crimes and have to do community service can get involved in – agriculture.

Bushman believes agriculture should be more highlighted in the nation’s schools with respect to its importance for food security adding that we need to go back to basics.

Everything grows on Sint Maarten, herbs, fruit trees and vegetables. The cultivationists says that aquaponics is good and he likes to see technological advancement but stresses to keep the culture of planting alive by using the soil of mother earth.

Bushman along with his wife and son operates their own restaurant on the Bush Road, Ital Shack. The fresh produce reaped from his farms is sold to a handful of restaurants and grocers and are served in Ital Shack.

President of Parliament Hon. drs. Gracita Arrindell says that agriculture is an area that needs more attention, adding that a healthy diet will go a long way in preventing Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, chronic respiratory disease and cancer.

"I am very pleased that last week the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a political declaration on the prevention and control of NCDs where approximately 36 million people die each year.

"A healthy nation has to do with the type of foods we consume and it all resorts back to home-grown fresh foods when compared to processed foods. I know many residents from all walks of life who go to Ital Shack and other like-minded establishments to have a healthy lunch. We also need to promote eating healthy food in our educational system.

"It is now up to the representatives of the people to develop policies and thereafter backed by legislation that would promote the development of sustainable agriculture on the island," President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell said on Sunday.