Categorized | National News

Farmer Lauds Plans To Build Food Institute

Agricultural enthusiasts in the country said they are more than happy that the government has plans to construct a Bahamian Food Sciences Institute on their island.

Steven Adderley, farmer and agricultural supervisor at the Agriculture Department in North Andros said the plans outlined in Wednesday’s Speech from the Throne were well received by labourers on that island.

“Andros is the largest island in The Bahamas and has the potential, because of all of these natural resources to move the country towards self sufficiency in food,” Mr. Adderley said. “It’s no more than logical that such a move be taken to bring this about.”

“The government’s desire to do that, I believe, is a positive step in the right direction. Hats off for it especially because it’s right in the place where it’s most needed.”

Mr. Adderley said while advancements like these have been a long time coming, he said he is sure that agriculture workers throughout the country will finally get the boost they have been waiting for.

It is often said that the agriculture industry in The Bahamas is a lucrative, sleeping giant that could very well be the source of a massive economic turnaround for the country while simultaneously harp on food security initiatives.

For years, successive governments have been selling the message to Bahamians that they ought to learn to feed themselves.

And with a country so full of rich, untouched land, Bahamians are often encouraged to go into the agriculture field to begin a sturdy food security programme.

But there has been little movement in that arena so the new Christie administration has put forth plans to jumpstart things.

“Recognising that agriculture is an integral part of any sustainable economic development plan, my Government will give focus to increasing food production as a vehicle to promote food security, create jobs and boost domestic investment,” Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes read.

“My government will initiate plans to construct a Bahamian Food Sciences Institute in North Andros with a view to incorporating it into the University of The Bahamas.”

According to the speech, the Christie administration is also deeply wedded to the belief that private enterprises should remain the primary engine of job creation and entrepreneurial opportunity in the country.
In that vein, the government says industrial expansion, fisheries and agricultural production should be the chief areas of economic activity in The Bahamas.

“My government will also aggressively pursue the development of a mariculture industry in The Bahamas and the further diversification of a fisheries industry which is reserved for Bahamians,” he added.

The government’s agriculture plan is also getting rave reviews from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) whose local representative Manuel Messina said the organisation is more than happy to lend a helping hand.

“There were areas of the Speech where agricultural plans were really highlighted and we are happy about that,” Mr. Messina said. “If the government really pulls this through then agriculture can do its job in this country.”

Especially in the area of food security we are definitely willing to help a lot with that and we are prepared to offer new minister of agriculture to prepare plans for food security with technical assistance it needs.”

But, Mr. Messina said the buck does not stop with food security and extends to food quantity, quality and nutrition.

He said he is more than happy to see what happens with this new food institute planned for Andros.

“I think it’s very interesting for handling, research and training,” he said. “We need to train the people because many people are getting into the field now but don’t know very much it. So the plans to also introduce agriculture science into the educational system are great. We as an international body are ready to assist.”

The Bahamas spends about $500 million a year importing food.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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