Sad to see Sweeting go – but hopes for new minister




Clay Sweeting


Tribune Business Reporter


THE new agriculture minister arrives to hopes that he will get on his feet quickly and continue with former minister Clay Sweeting’s mandate for farming.

Jomo Campbell will become the new Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, with his predecessor moving to become Minister of Works and Family Island Affairs, after a reshuffle by Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis.

Lance Pinder, Abaco Big Bird Poultry’s operations manager, told Tribune Business that while he is happy that the Local Government portfolio is now removed from the Agriculture and Marine Resources portfolio, he is “sad” to see the former minister, Clay Sweeting, leave to go to another ministry. Mr Campbell, the new minister, was previously Minister of State for Legal Affairs.

Mr Pinder said of the shuffle: “I was glad to see that they put local government out of that ministerial portfolio and it is now just agriculture and fisheries, because agriculture and fisheries and family island affairs was a big portfolio and was really unrelated. I think that is a step in the right direction there and they will be able to focus more on things.”

Mr Pinder said some of the things the new minister needs to focus on are the “Golden Yolk and also I think I would say the projects that were already in the works and pick those back up and keep it going. The hatchery programme is also another initiative they need to keep going as well”.

Mr Pinder added: “Some of the other things have been going on forever, like the cost of energy is affecting producers as it has been affecting everyone. Hopefully they keep up the Climate Smart Accelerator and all of the initial things going on at BAMSI (Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Sciences Institute), I think we can start to make traction down there.”

Another long-standing matter for farmers is also the lack of “crop insurance,” something that there is no mechanism for in the country and no private insurer wishes to take up the task and neither does the government have the mechanisms. “The cost of production and the quality of import versus the local items and other things we need to have addressed. Maybe at some point we need to get some type of crop insurance programme,” Mr Pinder said.

Sidney Sinclair, principal of Down to Earth Adventure Farms, also said while he does not know much about the new minister (Campbell), he hopes that he makes a visit to his farm to see the work needed and begin helping him with grant funding to continue the construction of the expansion of his operation.


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