Alongside Maio and Boa Vista, Sal is one of the other driest islands within the Cape Verde archipelago. With no fresh water of any kind and where it only rains a few days a year, it makes agriculture a very difficult process. But not impossible!
To support the massive expansion of the tourism on Sal, in 2018 a massive 98% of fruits and vegetables consumed on the island of Sal were imported from Europe, the remaining 2% arriving by boat from the more fertile islands of of Santo Antão and São Nicolau for the local population.
According to official data, around 7 million KG of fruits and vegetables were imported by sea, burning an estimated 70,000 litres of ‘bunker fuel’. Bunker fuel is the generic term given to any fuel poured into a ship’s bunkers to power its engines. Deepsea cargo ships typically burn the heavy, residual oil left over after gasoline, diesel and other light hydrocarbons are extracted from crude oil during the refining process. It is harmful to fish and toxic to crustaceans, shellfish and aquatic plants with potentially long term adverse effects.
In 2017, Fazenda Orgânica da Ilha do Sal was formed. Translated as Sal’s Organic Farm, with the potential to reach a surface of 1,200 Hectares in 10 years, producing up to 140,000 tons of organic food per year. The project uses desalinated sea water and capitalise on the favorable climatic conditions of the Island to produce high quality fruit and vegetables at highly competitive and affordable prices.
Open to the public and located on the north of the island, the farm is producing a diverse range of 100% organic crops to European certified standards including tomatoes, peppers, carrots, spinach, cucumber, parsley, aubergine and beetroot.
The goal is to expand production, thus reducing the need for imported goods and creating new job positions over the coming years. Many of the international branded hotels are becoming more committed to the project with the Hilton hotel reported to have help fund purchase bee hives which are needed for pollination.