Categorized | National News

Bahamas Hosts Caribbean Plant Health Forum

The Bahamas is hosting Caribbean nations as they gather for the 12th Meeting of the Caribbean Plant Health Directors (CPHD) Forum. 

Bahamas Agricultural Health and Food Safety (BAHFSA) Chairman Mark Humes, in his address to the delegates, spoke to the importance of such a forum, particularly in countries where plants are a foundation of life. 

In The Bahamas, according to Mr. Humes, agriculture accounts for only 2.3 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.  However, efforts are being made by the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources to improve the conditions for agricultural production to mitigate the $1 billion worth of food imports.

“These efforts are happening through a series of very diverse initiatives at the Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Institute, also known as BAMSI, and in many of our family of islands,” Mr. Humes said.

“In all of these agricultural ventures there is a recognition that healthy plants are the foundation of our life.  

“We recognize that plants, one, form the building blocks for ecosystems. We recognize, two, it makes food security possible and three, it diversifies the economy.”

CPHD is a collaboration of National Plant Health Services regional and international organizations, government entities, universities and reference laboratories with the common purpose of safeguarding plant resources of the Greater Caribbean Region from the threat of quarantine pest and improving plant health.

Mr. Humes remarked that with the archipelagic nature of The Bahamas, it is susceptible to challenges with phytosanitary measures. 

In an effort to tackle these, BAHFSA was established in 2016.

“This agency was established to serve as a regulatory agency with oversight of matters in the country related to food, animal and plant health and safety,” Mr. Humes said.

“In 2018, a team of directors began to implement the authority’s mandate to ensure that there is an efficient, effective transparent and coordinated administration of these matters and a harmonization of all efforts among public sector agencies with shared responsibility for sanitary and phytosanitary measures.”

Mr. Humes said BAHFSA has a commitment to the development of a National Pesticide Management Policy that will benefit farmers and local consumers, comply with international regulations, protect natural resources throughout the country and allow sustainable growth of the agricultural sector aimed at contributing to food security.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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