‘Made in Statia’ has new name, about to expand | THE DAILY HERALD

Taro Merkman

  1. EUSTATIUS–“Made in Statia”, a local agricultural project, has a new name and is about to expand.

The new name is “Made in Statia Agriculture Centre.” Marketing Director Taro Merkman says the intention is for it to become a one-stop garden store and an eatery serving local meat and produce.

“Our new foundation will replace the existing sales table with a newly-built store. Its shelves will not only contain the produce that we cultivate, but also garden equipment, fertiliser, seeds and seedlings, houseplants and all the other products that you would expect in such a professional market garden centre,” Merkman said.

Merkman has a landscaping company and intends to transform an unused plot of land to cultivate decorative flowering plants and palms. A sizeable orchard will also be planted to grow popular tropical fruits such as dragon fruit, soursop and sea grapes.

St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation STENAPA is already working closely with Merkman on a reforestation project. A plot will also produce compost that will be sold through the garden store.

Merkman has government Commissioner Marcolino “Mike” Franco’s support. “Every year, we import produce worth US $1,000,000,” Franco told The Daily Herald. “It makes sense to save a lot of cents by eating a lot of healthy and locally grown fruit and vegetables.

“For that, we need water and much of it. Unfortunately, the dry season on Statia is becoming longer. But this year, the government will put a water catchment system in place that will redirect the storm water, harvest the rains through wells and pools and irrigate the land for local growers and livestock farmers.

“For too many years, Statia has washed away its life-giving soil to pollute its blue waters. Erosion, water shortage and failed crops are no longer options.”

Merkman is confident that his Made in Statia Agriculture Centre will be a positive addition to the island’s health and wealth.

“The local community will become healthier from our locally grown vegetables, herbs and fruits. We also intend to promote our corner of St. Eustatius as a tourist site of interest. St. Kitts has done this successfully and our fingers are just as green. … I was born in St. Kitts but Made in Statia,” he said.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/87701-made-in-statia-has-new-name-about-to-expand