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Agriculture Ministers Tour Bamsi Development

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Sciences Institute (BAMSI) is “well on its way” to sustaining the food demands of the country according to a delegation of agricultural ministers from CARICOM states.

Agricultural ministers from Jamaica, Bermuda, Belize, Guyana, Barbados, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines joined Bahamas agricultural and marine science minister, V Alfred Gray, and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) regional representative, Dr Deep Ford, on a comprehensive tour of the 800-acre Andros development yesterday.

Dr Ford called the multifaceted facility “the revitalisation of regional agriculture”, adding that the project illustrates the possibilities of food production by the Caribbean. The group was able to view BAMSI’s 12,000sqft administration building, $1.8m cafeteria, eight-room classroom block, female dormitory, an almost complete marine zone and thriving farming plots.

Dr Ford applauded the quality of vegetation being developed, asserting that crops being generated are “certainly” on par with international standards. “The development here should be praised,” he said.

“This entire facility shows what possibilities are obtainable if we continue to invest in the needs of our people. This goes to show that self-dependency in regards to food and adequate nutrition is possible in this region.”

He expressed his eagerness to see the compound operating at full capacity. “The expertise in agriculture, fisheries, plant production and cattle development is obvious. At this stage, you can identify exactly what is capable and work to enhance all of the projects here.”

Engineers on site yesterday confirmed that the facility is being constructed on schedule despite a number of setbacks. One source explained that portions of the site could be up and running by mid-April.

According to FAO statistics, since the 1990s there has been a seven per cent decrease in malnutrition cases in the Caribbean. However, records indicate that there are still 7.5 million people suffering from hunger in CARICOM states.

Farm manager Everton Parks added that presently the site employs 50 labourers with the aim of doubling that in the coming months. He said that staffing increases will reflect input and output numbers.

“We are working to double our livestock count. When we increase those numbers we will add more workers. Two times the livestock, two times the vegetation, two times the workers; that is what we are working towards,” said Mr Parks.

Speaking in reference to a livestock housing unit currently under construction, he explained that the institution will build four units in the coming months. Each unit will house 200 to 250 sheep or goats at a time. Ministry of Agriculture officials valued each unit at $40,000.

The Jamaican agriculture minister, Luther Buchanan, offered many suggestions to improve the “already state-of-the-art” complex. His recommendation to Mr Gray was to incorporate a waste saving mechanism to procure the waste of livestock on the site that could be used as fertiliser at the site.

Mr Gray, the MICAL member of parliament, said: “Today is a wonderful day for BAMSI, for Andros, for The Bahamas and certainly the region. It is wonderful to see the thoughts of our Prime Minister come to life. As you can attest, BAMSI is well on its way to enhancing agriculture in The Bahamas.”

On Tuesday, during a one-day agriculture summit, Mr Gray called on his fellow ministers to consider a common fund within the Caribbean to help CARICOM nations become more self reliant. He indicated that strengthened partnership can fast track the region, enabling the production of sufficient food for all nations in the Caribbean to feed not only their people, but their visitors.

Comments

John 5 years, 5 months ago

When you go into a ordinary restaurant the price of boil fish is between $17 and $20 a serving. A snapper fish dinner cost between $12 and $15 and you may find man created tulips fish for around $10. Souse is not much less expensive with sheep tongue being around $14 and chicken between 8 and $12. Stew conch costs around $16 and do you can see the cost of food is beyond the reach of the average Bshamian. BAMSI cannot be just a show but an effective tool in increasing the yields of local farmers and bring down the quality of food for all Bahamians.

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John 5 years, 5 months ago

Forward thinking: how about constructing a low security prison in Andros in conjunction with the BAMSI project. Inmates from the prison can be allowed to work at the school and also attend classes. On the completion of their sentence those who meet the requirements will be "assigned" plots of crown land to do their own farming. (Land does not have to be in Andros per se). Others can be placed in other farms on their released rather than returning to Nassau and maybe back to a life of crime or unemployment.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 5 months ago

THE Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Sciences Institute (BAMSI) is “well on its way” to sustaining the food demands of the country...hmmm and they started with bananas?

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asiseeit 5 years, 5 months ago

Who would have ever thought to use the animal waste to fertilize the crops. This will be a revolution in agriculture. Utterly amazed!

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BahamaPundit 5 years, 5 months ago

Bamsi is such a sham. All you need to farm is ground, water and seeds. Why spend millions on dorms. What an a@#hat idea. Farming is about getting dirty and living off the land. Once again, millions spent for no purpose other than to sell Bahamians a false dream. Get your a#$ on your hands and knees and start tilling soil -- that's how you farm. It's not a banking job ya kknow.

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John 5 years, 5 months ago

Food for thought: in 1974 Henry Kissinger as chairman of the National Security Council came up with the idea that food could be used as a weapon and to control population growth amongst other things. At that time he felt that population growth outside the U.S. and especially in former British colonies was a threat to national security. Shortly afterward farms started to disappear in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. They were replaced by many fast food chains all over the Caribbean and almost a total dependence on food being imported from the United States. One of the latest farm casualties in the Bahamas was a high yielding citrus farm in Abaco that was claimed to be infected with the citrus canker. Every tree on that farm was burned and the site abandoned. Records will show what happened to the health of Bahamians after their diet was changed to a less natural one. Was there also behavior modification? Like people becoming more violent. One fast food chain is famous for promoting its "angry whopper" and breast cancer has been linked to certain steroids found in chicken. There is also the question of what effect foods loaded with female hormones have on the black male and his ability to reproduce (male potency has declined significantly over the past 30 years) How safe is our food supply? Can it ever be safe again?

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 5 months ago

Well those female hormone injected foods are clearly ineffective on the black Bahamian single or married&scheming male

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SP 5 years, 5 months ago

......... Standing Around Talking Bull As Usual - While Competitors Surge Forward .........

Too late Christie and the PLP couldn't keep up with a snail on crutches much less Cuba, Jamaica and other regional tourism resort destinations.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releas...">http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releas...

It's no wonder Bahamas fell from the number one position in tourism to number five and continue the downward spiral.

The PLP and FNM lack vision ..... Foresight, innovative and new age thinking are totally out of the equation!

Time for new leadership with a different approach.

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