By YOURI KEMP
Major international agencies are helping The Bahamas with efforts to transform the agriculture and fisheries sectors to a post-Dorian “state of normalcy”, a Cabinet minister said yesterday.
Michael Pintard, minister of agriculture and fisheries, told Tribune Business: “We want to transform the farmers and fisher-folk back to a state of normalcy. There is a need to determine exactly what damage was done to buildings and equipment and transportation, and also exactly what damage there was to the land that was being used - particularly for those farmers who deal in livestock and crop farming.
“We’re doing a complete inventory of what exactly we did lose. Then we will look at what income was lost and the potential future loss between the length of time of Hurricane Dorian’s passage and what time they can be back on their feet.”
Mr Pintard said the Department of Agriculture was working with its international partners on such an assessment that is already underway. He added: “One of our partners is the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which is on Grand Bahama at the moment for both farmers and fishermen.
“They have already met with the team in New Providence, and will be in Abaco tomorrow. We are also receiving assistance from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), who as you know is a partner organisation with the Organisation of American States (OAS), and we also have the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) involved in conducting research on behalf of the Government. “
Mr Pintard continued: “We want to make sure we are using the appropriate, up-to-date, analytical tools to make our determinations on what happened in Abaco and Grand Bahama, and how we can move forward.
“We want to determine the state of affairs of our team members in Abaco and Grand Bahama; we want to make sure they are OK and address their direct needs. We are in the process of doing just that”
This follows a recent advertising campaign by the Ministry of Agriculture in which it asks for farmers and fishermen to contact either the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Marine Resources to find out more about how both departments can offer assistance to them post-Dorian.