Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources the Hon. Michael Pintard said The Bahamas today is importing roughly $1 billion worth of food; $650 million in terms of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers as well as protein and some $400 million in terms of value added products. Minister Pintard explained that Eeden Farms, a local Bahamian company that is the first of its kind to use hydroponic container farming, has embarked on a process that can help fix many of the gaps that exist along the value chain and the supply chain in agriculture.
Minister Pintard was speaking at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Eeden Farms on Thursday, February 25, 2021. Also in attendance at the ribbon cutting was Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Works the Hon. Desmond Bannister and Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Philip Davis.
Eeden Farms uses repurposed shipping containers to create the ideal environment to nurture the farming process from beginning to end. It allows for maximum control over crops at every stage, from germination to harvest, which translates to optimum yield with minimum loss.
Minister Pintard stated that new methods are needed not just to feed the 400,000 Bahamians but also the seven million tourists who visit the country. He said, “I am pleased to salute the efforts that have been made by successive government administrations to move us forward, but not sufficiently. This generation, I believe will catapult us in a way that past generations have not been
“One of the things that has been done is that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of The Bahamas has released to moratorium on the granting of land. We have accelerated that process to provide access to Bahamians.” Minister Pintard said the government has also provided a record amount of funding to Bahamians who are interested in agriculture via the Small Business Development Centre.
He also noted that the government has turned its attention to precision and smart agriculture. He explained that just recently, The Bahamas working along with the Israeli government and an Israeli Non-Governmental Organization — Volcani International Partnerships, opened a Caribbean wide agriculture workshop that was first opened to 1,000 persons. It was over-subscribed, so more than 2,000 persons across the Caribbean have now registered for the workshop.
The Minister said, “In fact, the Cabinet of The Bahamas under the Prime Minister’s leadership has also approved 30 acres at the Gladstone Road Research Centre so that we can put together a cluster of smart farms that are data driven where we have farmers that are focused on producing based on the demand in the market, rather than what they are accustomed to producing or what they have been exceptional at producing.”
He told the founding partners of Eeden Farms, that the Government is in step with what they are doing and will expect to continue utilizing their expertise as the government seeks to transform the nation.