Internship Bonaire (food production)

Internship Netherlands Enterprise Agency

(Rijkdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland- RVO)

location: homebased / Bonaire

Starting date: September 2021

Duration: 3 – 6 months

Boosting backyard food production on Bonaire.


Agriculture production on Bonaire is quite marginal, with a small number of professional farmers being the only ones active in selling food and very little value-adding taking place. The availability of water is a significant issue during most of the year. Dependence on food imports and food prices are high. Free roaming livestock grazes uncontrolled on the island damaging property and contributing to erosion, which leads to loss of fertile soils and causes damage to coral reefs.

However, the island once was self-sufficient in terms of food production. By applying the right knowledge and practices this could be possible again. Producing more food on the island in an environmentally sustainable way could improve food quality and put in place incentives for improved natural resource management.

However, most people on Bonaire do not see agriculture as an appealing sector to work in and demand for (fresh) fruit and vegetables is low. Boosting backyard food production could contribute to improving the image of the agricultural sector and producing one’s own food, and to making fresh, healthy food more readily available and increase its consumption.

An earlier project to stimulate local initiatives for agriculture, the POP (Plattelands Ontwikkelings Programma) ran from 2015-2019. It provided a set of workshops attended by about 60 people who were provided with small greenhouses, starting kits and long term guidance. The degree to which this project was successful and what remains of the results today is unclear as the project has not been evaluated.


The aim of this internship is to develop a plan to boost backyard food production on Bonaire, based on the lessons of earlier initiatives.


  1. Evaluation of the POP programme
    1. Interviews with the programme coordinators and trainers
    1. Interviews with / questionnaires among former participants
  2. Gather best practices from neighbouring islands
    1. Analyse lessons learned from similar initiatives on Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten, possibly other locations
  3. Identify possible synergies with existing initiatives
    1. Inventory relevant projects by the government, civil society and the private sector and explore options for mutually beneficent collaboration
  4. Reporting the results
    1. Collate findings from the analyses above
  5. Pointing the way forward
    1. Elaborating a plan of action to promote backyard gardening on Bonaire


Detailed research report and a presentation, containing at least:

  1. Findings following from the above
    1. Advice on support by the Dienst LVV (agricultural agency) on resources, knowledge and organizational support
    1. Recommendations to other stakeholders involved
    1. Plan of action


  • You are able to communicate with people from various backgrounds and in various functions;
  • You follow an HBO/WO course in a relevant field, such as geography, agriculture, environmental sciences, or natural resource management;
  • You are enthusiastic and have a proactive work attitude;
  • You are creative, but also organized and can work independently.

You are

  • Curious: wanting to know how things really work;
  • Analytical: able to map out the situation well and to identify the most important bottlenecks and opportunities;
  • Practical: in thinking with regard to the research approach but also the solutions;
  • Solution and result-oriented: at the end of the period we want to have a concrete solution or proposal for it that can be continued;
  • Able to think in a local context: the (European) Dutch context is very different from the Caribbean Netherlands, so knowing how things and people work and think locally is an advantage, as is fluency in Papiamentu;
  • Pro-active and enterprising: able to set up and implement actions based on their own insights and to make contacts with courage and to suggest and discuss ideas;
  • Communicative: being able, willing and daring to communicate well and clearly. In order to get all relevant information on the table, contact will have to be made with many people (in the Netherlands and on Bonaire);
  • Independent: able to work independently on the basis of previously discussed goals, framework and well-defined assignment. Active guidance is not available full-time (physically), but it is available.


The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) is a government agency that operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK). We implement policies and support entrepreneurs, NGOs, knowledge institutions and organisations. We aim to facilitate entrepreneurship, improve collaborations, strengthen positions and help realise national and international ambitions with funding, networking, know-how and compliance with laws and regulations.

The RVO team Cooperation Dutch Caribbean supports the ministries of EZK, Internal Affairs and Kingdom relations (BZK) and Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV). The intern will be part of this multidisciplinary team, with colleagues who, work on a range of subjects to support the sustainable development of the Caribbean Netherlands The internship will be supervised Rogier Vogelij and/ or Selwin Leito. For more information please contact and

In short:

Location                                          work from home (an office in the Hague or Utrecht could become available once COVID rules permit) / Bonaire

Hours per week                             32-40

Compensation                               Euro 628 per month ( based on 40 hours)

Level                                               HBO/WO Bachelor

Field                                                Agriculture, Geography, Land and Water Management, Rural Development

Deadline for response:                 August 2021

Preferred starting data                 September 2021

Employment Internship                        

Period                                             3-6 months

Job Category: internship
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Bonaire

Reageer op deze functie

Toegestane typen: : .pdf, .doc, .docx