Portraits of Resilience

Crops drying up and eventually dying …the washing away of three houses

Agriculture is the science of cultivating soil, producing crops and raising livestock and the marketing of the resulting product. Here on Praslin we interviewed a 53-year-old man, Arthur Bresson, who is dedicated to farming. He left school and started farming at the age of 20. He said it’s a fun experience but it has its bad times. Mr Bresson told us a lot of information about farming.

The Changing Face of Agriculture on a Small Island

Here unfortunately things are on the wrong track due to climate change and other negative effects. Mr Bresson talked about the dry season and how sometimes there’s no water at all so he had to go a long way to fetch the water he needed. He can’t use seawater because it’s not good for the plants. He faces severe problems such as crops drying up and eventually dying, costing him his livelihood and making it hard to sell his products.

He also mentioned other farmers quitting and that his passion and devotion for the job is unbreakable. But he is facing some other diffi culties. Like most farmers, he has to use chemicals and pesticides. Every three days he needs to spray. The price of manures and fertilizers are becoming extremely expensive. The seasons aren’t changing like they used to, he said, and we are having longer dry seasons. When the rain fi nally falls it drowns the crops, which is bad for business. Not to mention it also attracts more insects, bugs and mosquitoes. Why are all of these happening? Because there’s climate change.

We learned farmers are having a hard time. We can help by encouraging people to buy local products instead of imported ones.  Agriculture is dying quickly and will soon come to an end if we don’t do something about it.

— Sarah Purvis and Jean-Joseph Bistoquet

What is Occurring?

As an eco-tourism island, Seychelles is being greatly affected by climate change. Firstly, the rise in the sea levels will affect our coastal area especially during the time of the southeast trade wind where we get strong wind of about 80 km/hr, which produces high destructive waves. These waves erode the beach. A typical example is Anse Kerlan, Praslin where large portion of the beach has been affected and the vegetation uprooted.
One of the inhabitants of Anse Kerlan, Mr Desire Etheve, stated that this portion of the beach used to be healthy. That was until 1972, when coastal erosion started. From then on, they witnessed severe coastal degradation which included the washing away of three houses, respectively in 1979 and 1989. Presently, the only remaining evidence of one of these houses is a water tank. Apparently, before there used to be a secondary road which nowadays no longer exists. This shows that about 13 metres of land has eroded.
In conclusion, it can be argued that global warming has brought nothing but negative effects to our unspoiled environment. The Seychelles is no different to other surrounding island states, since they are also suffering from severe coastal degradation. Despite constant effort to prevent coastal degradation, this phenomenon worries people in the Seychelles.

—  Lara Bouchereau and Anya Chang- Time

Download poster (pdf)