Categorized | Business

Minister: No Interest In Farming

Agriculture and Marine Resources Minister V. Alfred Gray has admitted that he is having trouble developing the country’s farming industry, which he says holds millions of dollars in untapped revenue.

Recently, US agriculture officials forecasted up to $20 billion in losses due to the most severe drought in the US “corn belt” in more than half a century. Dry conditions that began as early as spring 2011 have depleted the moisture supplying all-important corn crops, severely impacting this year’s season and squeezing the domestic supply.

Last year, dry conditions led to below-normal corn production, especially in Texas, which recorded agricultural losses of $7.62 billion with crop insurance losses of $2.58 billion.

Officials said this year is expected to be even worse, and could possibly surpass the 1988 drought.

The issue has brought to light world food shortages that were feared back in 2008.
Minister Gray said however that he has been trying to sell the idea of farming, but with little success.

“We do not produce more than 10 percent of what we eat and so the problems that we are having compounds the problems that we are having and it speaks to the need of how important it is for them to get involved in food production,” he said.

“I have been trying to sell the idea nationwide. I have seen little results of my effort coming to fruition but it is not hardly enough and it seems that people are not interested in farming. That’s disappointing to say the least. But I will continue to try that’s the best thing I could do.”
Minister Gray said his ministry has worked with Ministry of Education to have farming integrated into public schools and the College of The Bahamas.

“If I can do that, I would think that that’s the way to go. But at the moment our food security is okay in terms of imports but certainly we are not producing half of what we eat,” he said.
The minister said in the meantime, officials are looking at new ways to develop food production.

“The way we farm is going to have to be highly technological and science-driven. By that, I mean greenhouse farming and other new forms of methods that are around the world,” Minister Gray said.

“We can do it but it’s just that I am not seeing the interest level. Everybody wants to work in the bank or tourism or some white collar job. And that’s sad because what are the bankers going to eat? What are the people in tourism going to eat, if we don’t try to feed them through food production?”

In the past, the government has offered incentives in attempt to lure Bahamians to farming.

But Minister Gray said people aren’t biting.

“There have been incentives, exemptions and all kinds of assistance but very few people are coming forward in a very meaningful way and it may be because they are able to get jobs elsewhere,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

One Response to “Minister: No Interest In Farming”

  1. With all due respect there seems not to be an effort identify existing viable agricultural project on the part of Mr. Gray


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