Categorized | National News

Eneas: “Import Substitution Program Is The Only Way To Lower The Food Import Bill”

By Destiny Johnson

The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), through the Caribbean Agro-Economic Society (CAAES), has brought together regional experts as the 34th West Indies Agricultural Economics Conference kicked off on Monday morning here in The Bahamas at Super Club Breezes.

BAMSI is hosting 70 delegates from across the region and the United States and Europe to discuss topics including opportunities for food systems in eco and agro-tourism.

The conference is being held under the theme, “Emerging challenges and opportunities for food systems: climate change and tourism nexus”.

Agri-business expert and President of Agri-Consultant Services Godfrey Eneas, one of the speakers during Monday’s session, while addressing the agricultural climate of the country asserted that the food import bill must be lowered.

He lamented that previous governments did not allow the agriculture industry to grow enough to support the country which is why the food import bill is so high.

“They have put food in the hands of the importers so, the imports can control food supply.  

“They reduce all the duties and not only put food in the hands of the food importers, they decimated the agricultural center.

“As a result, there’s no poultry industry and there is no food processing industry. There are no farmers, there is no commercial agriculture in this country because of these policies.

“And that is why the region has reached the point where there is this huge food import bill,” Mr. Eneas said.

In June of 2021, Former Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard said the country imports about one billion dollars’ worth of food products.

Mr. Eneas noted that the only way to eradicate this bill is to implement an Import Substitution Program.

“And out of that Import Substitution Program, we will able to demonstrate that you can produce cheaper than this cheap food policy that one administration wanted to introduce as a result of the block doctrine.

“Our Import Substitution policy goes even deeper. There’s a $50 million market at the Bahamas has for the rest of CARICOM,” Mr. Eneas said.

The 34th West Indies Agricultural Economics Conference will continue until June 9.

Other topics that will be discussed throughout the week, are geared towards Challenges of Communication and Leadership in Caribbean Food Systems; Challenges for Food Nutrition and Security; Sustainability Impacts of Climate Change on The Bahamas; School Feeding Programs and Agricultural Development and Exploring The Economics of Caribbean Food Systems.

Prime Minister Phillip Davis officially opened the conference on Tuesday evening.

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook