Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) Assistant Farm Manager Cameron Lightbourne recently participated in a special workshop hosted by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) – “Train-the-Trainer in Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).”
Sponsored by the European Union, the training sessions were administered by IICA as part of a regional sanitary and phytosanitary project.
As part of the workshop, attendees were given an in-depth look at the foundational steps to implementing GAPs and GMPs in fresh produce farms, livestock farms, and packing/processing facilities.
Facilitator Carol Thomas, an International Agricultural Health and Food Safety specialist, shared a wealth of knowledge on the topic, as she related it to the unique Caribbean perspective and circumstance.
The work, she noted, is integral in improving plant, animal, human, and environmental health, and progressing towards a more robust agriculture industry for The Bahamas and the region as a whole. Also on hand to assist was Shacara Lightbourne, National Technical specialist for IICA in The Bahamas.
As the region makes a push to increase its agricultural export capabilities, the aim of the workshop was to train technical personnel in improving food safety standards and minimizing risks to workers and consumers so that they can in turn disseminate the information to the wider community.
On hand for the training were representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources, and Local Government, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation and the College of the Bahamas.
Among the delegates were managers, technicians, extension officers, and educators who are now equipped with the knowledge and wherewithal to inform and address farmers, agri-business owners, and other industry players on ways to implement GAPs and GMPs so their products can receive access to foreign markets, and comply with stricter standards and regulations.