From November 2016 until the end of January 2017 we will be in Suriname to do market research into the possibility of selling industrially produced aluminium greenhouses to small farming entrepreneurs. Suriname has been in an economic crisis since 2015, because the country has mainly focused its economic powers towards finding, mining and exporting quarrying products like gold, oil and bauxite. Because the commodity prices for these products are sensitive to fluctuations on the international market (CIA, 2016), the price has recently dropped significantly. A big part of the bauxite resources has also been depleted. Over time, Suriname’s export market has narrowed. Farmers moved to the cities and have lost important knowledge of farming and agricultural entrepreneurship. SOIL is a foundation with the goal of stimulating the agricultural sector of Suriname in order to replace the lost income from mining industries. It pursues that goal by setting up projects where greenhouses are designed and built, trade fairs are organized, and where knowledge is shared.
Our project for SOIL makes a big leap from the current situation in Suriname and tries to bring modern innovations and technologies directly to the small farmer. Aluminium greenhouses are more durable, easier to produce in large volumes and can handle more weight and strain. We will research the possibility of producing this type of greenhouses for the market in Suriname and if it is possible to produce this for a feasible price. Then we will synthesize our knowledge into a design for an aluminium greenhouse which will hopefully be produced by another party. Next to this, greenhouses do not currently have a good reputation in Suriname. Greenhouses are seen as redundant and unnecessary, since Suriname’s climate is already tropical, even though greenhouse can actually make a big difference for the efficiency, continuity, and protection of the production. Therefore, it is important to distribute knowledge on the use of greenhouses and to show how a well-designed greenhouse can help the farmer to produce more. Through this, we hope the people of Suriname will be better equipped to provide themselves with a consistent income and broader base for economic development.
In this workspace one can find the research we have done for the project. This includes the general context of Suriname, the locations that we will visit on our market research, greenhouses and greenhouse farming in general, financing greenhouses, our research on safety and security and our research on the feasibility of the project with regards to the context in Suriname.
If you would like to find out more about our project, like the project plan, our business model canvas, SOIL, or keep up with our progress take a look at our project progress collection. Go to the group profile article to learn more about our team.