5. Achieving change in technologies and mind-set of the people of Texel

The first step in achieving change is by changing the mind – set of people. Any change that effects culture, traditions and religious beliefs even slightly is resented. Change can start by inspiring people. Change that gives a monetary benefit is an added incentive. Having a positive outlook is also a bonus in achieving change. This is a difficult process to achieve if not planned out properly, as it is easier to break trust than to gain it.

A realistic aim for the year 2065 is to reduce at least 30% of vegetable imports from the mainland and export at least 30% sheep products out of Texel.  


5.1 Actors

5.1.1 Farmers

Texel, as previously mentioned has a typical agricultural based economy. So it is obvious that any improvement in the agriculture will directly benefit the economy and the food output. However, the current farmer’s reputation among the other Texelaars is vulnerable because there is not much contact between the two parties [1]. This results in him not giving back as much as he can to the community. This atmosphere of tension can only result in a cycle of hate where, the community dislikes farmers and vice versa. If there is such a thought process the output will most definitely drop.

Present Farmer Situation

YUPTA Current Farmer.jpg

Fig 5.1: YUPTA for Current Farmer

The current farmer has bad reputation low value for engagement. He is not engaged/enthusiastic in what he does because he doesn’t receive due credit for his efforts. However the effort he puts in is almost maximum. It is due to this that his reciprocity is low as well. The negative environmental impact of the farmer is large due to unsustainable practises like mechanised farming.

Future Farmer Situation



Fig 5.2: YUPTA for Future Farmer

From Fig 4.2 it is clear that the reputation of the farmer must improve and this can be done by working with the community and having a farmers union where local people can invest and strengthen bonds. If this increases the enthusiasm as well as reciprocity will increase. The farmer can then participate in improving the farming practises like replacing mechanised farming with organic farming.


5.1.2 Consumers

Present Scenario 

YUPTA Current Locals.jpg

 Fig 5.3: Current Locals

The current local people have a very small role in the efforts to improve food production and they are also less engaged than the current farmer. They don’t have a high positive environmental impact either. If the locals extend a supportive hand to the farmers half the battle is won.

Future Scenario

YUPTA Future Locals.jpg


Fig 5.4: Future Locals

Encouraging people to invest in farm land solves the problem of isolation of the farmers as well as helps in damage control (if there is a calamity). Following which the farmers can be encouraged to sell their produce at farmers’ markets; this gets rid of the middle man and forces interaction between the two parties. All of this interaction will be positive reinforcement for the farmer and will improve the production of food.

After the problems of producing local food and possible solutions are mentioned, consumption of this local food is the next step in closing the loop. Inculcating the habit of eating locally can help the island as it can:

  1. Reduce transportation of unnecessary goods from the mainland.
  2. Offer healthy alternatives

This can be done by arousing the people’s interests, possibly by hosting an annual cooking competition in Texel (using local ingredients) and inviting famous Dutch Chefs or eminent personalities like Jamie Oliver to taste and judge the dishes. The winning recipe can be made publically available for the rest of the year in restaurants across the island. Ideas similar to this will intrigue people and cause them to switch over to eating locally. The hype of this event itself will be another way to cause a mind – set shift. An incentive to eating local food is that it will be cheaper than buying food from the supermarkets.

Another innovative idea could be ‘Food Swap’ where local unique produce on Texel can be exported, to the mainland and food from the mainland can be shipped back to Texel. The unique Texel sheep, cheese, saline potatoes can be exported. These exports from Texel will cost more and will compensate the farmer for the food being subsidised on Texel. This will be a more efficient use of transport and will give the farmer a larger return on his efforts and encourage people to eat locally.


5.2 Technologies

Achieving a change in technologies is another step in improving the output for farm lands. Switching over to organic farming from the normal ways of farming has been said to improve the output of crops by almost 15%. For small land holdings like Texel, organic farming can improve production after a period of 5 – 10 years.

Since majority of the water in Texel is saline, it is logical that to maximise food production saline alternatives to the crops must be possible. Presently, potatoes are being grown by Marc Van Rijsselberghe. There are different types of salt tolerant crops like garden beets, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, winter wheat, spring wheat, oats, peas and many more. [2]

Considering the lack of arable land for food crops, cultivating halophytes (salt resistant feed crops) is an efficient use of the rest of the land. These crops can grow in salty soil and can serve as feed for the sheep in Texel. These crops will not compete with the other food crops and instead provide food for the sheep, provide protection to the land by preventing soil erosion and work as feeding areas for the fish, birds and other animals. By leaching salt from the surrounding lands a few of these halophytes can provide more land for non – saline agriculture. An added bonus is that a few halophyte species can act as biomass if the island has plans for a biomass energy plant. After the camel, sheep is the most salt resistant livestock. Therefore, there is no drawback in feeding these halophytes to the sheep. [3]


5.3 Culture and Tradition

Texelaars are a proud and a hardy group of people, they had faced difficulties of being away from the mainland, learning to be self – sufficient and lived through the Germans warring with the Georgians after World War II. New changes will be difficult to push forward unless the people are thoroughly convinced that it is beneficial. So shifting the mind – set will be one of the major challenges.

Since the dykes have caused a major separation and there are no floodplains left Texelaars have forgotten their connection with the sea. Inculcating the love for the sea is a fair way to build up confidence and unity of the locals. There must also be a hero or an icon for the Texelaars to look up to so that people can emulate those ideals.


5.4 Policy and Government Interventions

Presently, there are not many policies in Texel that benefit the farmers or the ecosystems. Even the few ones which are present are intertwined with bureaucracy and other laws. The Netherlands has a notorious reputation for having too many laws when it comes to agriculture [4]. Being an island Texel should have its own laws. Laws that provide compensation for loss of produce or sheep due to calamity or disease can be a fair way to help protect farmers. To assist the government in this, insurance companies can also pitch in and provide the necessary financial protection. This will ensure a mind – set shift causing more people to take up farming.



[1]. PR Landbouw

[2]. http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex3303

[3]. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/SalineAgriculture.php

[4]. Frantzeskaki, N., et. al. Outliers or Frontrunners? Exploring the (Self-) Governance of Community Owned Sustainable Energy in Scotland and the Netherlands (2013). Renewable Energy Governance, Pg. 111.




Syed Aaquib Hazari , Borris , Iris