Categorized | National News


The Minister of  Agriculture Renward Wells is seeking to allay fears  after the government’s  decision to allow   Haitian agricultrural  produce to be in local stores.

Responding to reports of unhappy Bahamian farmers who says the government doesn’t need to import produce,  Mr. Wells, said  local farmers have no need to worry.

“I want the farmers and fishermen to know that we are their servants. I hear them and I also want them to know that we are not going to do anything that will cause them to not be able to enjoy the fruits of their labours in this country.

“All we were saying to the Haitian government with the agreement we made is that the produce and the products that Haiti currently exports to the U.S,  that we purchase from the U. S, mangoes, coffee and other things, rather than have the U.S as a middle man, we can have direct trade with Haiti. We’re not going to be importing more than what we currently import,” Wells said.

The agreement once in affect will allow distributors in the Bahamas to buy directly from Haiti.

However, whether the process can actually happen is another issue.

“We have certain phytosanitary rules, certain shipping rules that Haiti has to meet. They must have containerized shipping, which they currently do not have to the Bahamas.  Their phytosanitary requirements need to be increased, where  we have to be able to identify where in Haiti or which farms the produce came from; that is not readily resident in Haiti at this time. The Haitian government has committed to raise their standard so that they can meet our requirements,” Wells said.

He added that after seeing President Moise give orders to the respective entites, he’s certain they are capable of meeting the requirements.

There is  nothing new about this agreement ,as a Memorandum of understanding was signed by the previous government back in 2014.

The opposition made it clear in a statement that the Minnis administration has not broken any new ground, but is simply continuing the PLP’s policies.

To that Mr. Wells simply said governments are continuous.

“They started the process and we’re just ensuring that the Bahamian people and farmers are not disenfranchised in any way.

“We’re not a government that tears up agreements. At the end of the day, we met with the Haitian President and all of his Ministers and they were very much interested in building the bilateral relationship with the Bahamas. We are going to protect the Bahamian people as best we can, ” Wells said.

The Bahamas only produces  8 per cent  of its food – a figure the Minister is determined  to increase.

The Haitian export market is valued at $1.15 billion.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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