UPDATE: Food Crisis? It's Napa Land here all the way.

UPDATE: I've noticed many visitors to this blog still read this post, although it's from 2008. Do we still have a food crisis here in Seychelles?

I don't believe we have. Oh, of course our supermarkets are not as full as those in Europe, but we're doing pretty ok. We even have a mini local supermarket chain called Kanu's that is very well stocked. They import a brand called Emborg, which I strongly suspect is EU overproduction for export (but, hey, it's still good stuff).

Prices are higher than ever, though...

Original post:

Many might say we've long had a food crisis in Seychelles. Called Napa Land (the land of nothing, after the usual reply of shopkeepers to enquiries of the availability of goods), the islands have long been lacking basic foodstuffs and commodities.

In some ways, things have improved. We now have Docklands Supermarket, which imports goodies like French cheese, chorizo and even, occasionally, Toblerone. I dream that, one day, they might even have Lindt or Caillier chocolate.

Meanwhile, to satisfy my cravings for chocolate, I buy South African Cadbury's chocolate at Supersave. Supersave is a total misnomer; far from saving any money, I walk out of there clutching my rotisserie chicken and loaf of brown bread, reeling with shock. As for the produce: does anybody really buy those overpriced vegetables that look frighteningly genetically modified?

What has become worse now is not so much the availability of food (which has been a problem since as far back as I can remember), but the prices. Yes, it's bad all over the world, but here in the Seychelles, the Rupee has been devalued as well. I don't know how a waitress earning the (new) minimum wage of Rs 2500 and bringing up two kids on her own as well survives. Hell, I don't know how I am surviving...

The government now says it will focus more on developing agriculture in the country. It's high time; Seychelles should be producing enough vegetables to feed the population instead of having to import them.

As an anarchist (ok, in these time maybe Libertarian) , I think Seychellois shouldn't wait around for the government to do something, but should get off our butts and do something ourselves. There doesn't seem to be a point to waiting for higher ups to solve our problems; we would be waiting until we're blue in the face. I wish somebody would take up on this business idea for homegrown vegetables I came across today. A company in San Francisco will install an organic vegetable garden in a customer's back yard. Customers choose whether to produce just enough for their own family or whether to become owner-members producing enough for the company to sell as well. Either way, once the garden's in, the company will maintain it using organic and permaculture techniques.

It's something that would work here, as most people have their own gardens. And organic sounds good to me; produce here is not just fertilised, but heavily over-fertilised.

I can't do it; I have black thumbs. Anyone?


  1. I have black thumbs too. My country Singapore is small and doesn't have enough land for agricultural produce. Most of our food is imported and the rising food prices are getting to be a burden on ordinary folks.

  2. I get the creeps every time we go shopping. It is a bit better here (Hungary) than it has been in Kuwait and lately Germany. But hey,...., they are getting ridiculous.
    We really have to start finding our way around and only get local stuff - they have enough of that here, but we always forget (yes, stupid, I know)
    And I don't know who buys those fake looking, overpriced vegies, but when people buy an Iceberg salad that costs 1,50 Euro (over 3 Dollars), then I believe everything....!

  3. From half way around the world, I discovered something wonderful in my own back yard! This really is the New Age; thanks for posting this article.
    You inspired me to create a garden in my girlfriends back yard, something I have always loved doing since childhood. We are drying apricots now; I would like to post some to you as a reward. :)


  4. I wanted you to check out http://www.linkexpats.com (social networking for expatriates). I thought it might be interesting for you and your readers, maybe you can add it to your links list as well.


  5. Hi Louise
    Thanks for the award. Fortunately along with the gift of being able to paint I was also blessed with Green fingers. Everything I plant seems to thrive.

    Sadly I now live in a townhouse with a balcony and except for my potplants I don't get to grow much any more.

    I had the pleasure of visiting your beautiful Island in the early 80's and I am certain the ambiance must make up for some of the luxuries you don't get there.

    The situation is no different here in South Africa, prices are just getting way out of hand.

    All our best produce is exported and we wind up having to pay international prices for the left overs.

    I guess the world is in a mess right now and simple things like having your own vegetable garden will go a long way to easing some of the financial burden we all seem to have been lumbered with.

  6. I agree with you Louise, I think Seychellois are so used to having everything done for us, that when everything goes wrong we only complain about it (sort of like a sulking child) and not many care to even try to do something innovative.

    But as for the garden thing...I don't know how successful that would be for the average Seychellois. Mainly because anyone cultivating fruits & vegetables will have robbers in their backyards in no time (through personal experience). These robbers come by during odd hours, and if you've got anything more than fruits and vegetables lying around, they'll take 'em all.

  7. eastcoastlife, nicole, artbeat - we're obviously all in the same boat in this world...

    RichA - Apricots? Forgotten what they are, it's been so long... I love 'em!

    Rawpinions - You've got a point. Even fruit and veg get stolen. I recently caught a guy in my mango tree... And then he has the cheek to show up the next week trying to sell me fruit. From whose garden I wonder...

  8. That was a very interesting post. I like knowing what is going on in very different parts of the world. Your plight with the lack of produce and the basics of living, and the very high price, is a shame. I was going to suggest that maybe you grow your own, but I see you have already researched it. Even with "black thumbs" perhaps you could do it. It sounds like that company has it all figured out for you. And I bet things would grow like crazy in your climate.
    Someone should try to start a little import business. Maybe you, and teach your daughter!

  9. Fred,

    I intend to have a little vegetable patch, black thumbs or no, as soon as I have some long term accommodation (I've been moving every few months for the last two years.)

    There are actually quite a few importers on the island already. Many gave up earlier this year, though, due to the lack of availability of foreign exchange. It's currently difficult to get even on the black market. And nobody abroad (not even Swiss banks) wants Seychelles Rupees.

    Still, the scenery is spectacular...

  10. pawpinions is right about how spoiled seychellois are and the theives who steal your fruits and try to sell it back to you, bloody lazy idiots!!! and for the record seychelles has never had a food crisis, NEVER!!! i havent EVER seen a small country with so many fat people...

    People go to supasave which is one of the most expensive outlets in seychelles and come out with a lot of bags of different useless food stuff, and yet they say seychellois are poor(AS F***KING IF!!!) AND THERE IS NO FOOD?!?!?!
    WHAT A BUNCH OF OLD SH*T... I mean seriousy how pathetic can some people be? really?



Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More