Discovering Neverland: São Tomé e Príncipe and the development of the agricultural heritage of a multi-ethnic population
The history of São Tomé and Príncipe (STP) shows that the development of the roças, agriculturally based structures of colonial time, form a heritage linked to STP’s human development. Different agricultural products have characterized the historical periods of migration, slavery, creolism, and gender emancipation up to the present day; agricultural products and ethnic contamination make STP unique with the culture-nature relationship providing a useful tool for a better understanding of its historical roots.
The essay argues that STP’s sustainable development could be fostered through agro-food geographical indications (GIs), which directly link territories, peoples, and traditions. GIs could lead to improvements in the export price of some of STP’s cocoa and coffee and, at the same time, increasing the cultivation of a number of other crops, especially indigenous fruits. The breeding of inland species, such as São Tomé bees, could also foster a multi-faceted approach to territorial development, including eco-tourism.