President of the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute Senator the Honorable Dr. Erecia Hepburn paid a courtesy call to the Office of the Spouse headed by Mrs. Ann Marie Davis early this week. Her visit was meant to raise the profile of the Institute by bringing attention to its role as an innovator, making key strides in the agricultural sector and as a front runner in the country’s push to increase food security.
As the first female president of BAMSI, Dr. Hepburn shared that the new leadership was looking to ensure the Institute remains on the cutting edge of agricultural development in the country. Falling in line with this sentiment and also to highlight the sector to attract the brightest and best students, Mrs. Davis, who revealed she has an interest in backyard farming and also has her own chickens, was invited to serve as a Brand Ambassador for BAMSI. Specifically, she would help place a spot light on the Institute’s slew of short courses, including backyard gardening, that are geared towards Bahamians who are interested in growing their own food and who want to eat healthy and eat local.
“We’re trying to encourage [Bahamians] to eat local, because you normally get healthier foods when you eat and consume local foods,” Dr. Hepburn said. “I think if we could get you to join on, and that’s the joy of it being hybrid, that we can use you as a brand ambassador for persons who are interested in Backyard Gardening for BAMSI. What we really want to do and ensure is that BAMSI gets the kind of
profile that it really needs.”
In terms of BAMSI’s recruitment and retention rates, Dr Hepburn added, having persons like Mrs Davis and her colleagues on board, they will be able to make an indelible mark on the organisation.
“Why this partnership will be so important is that we are looking at women in agriculture this year. Having women’s economic empowerment is one of the review themes that the CSW (Commission on the Status of Women) is targeting and focusing on at this juncture. It’s a hands-on experience, so really having you consider it and taking the course and just walking through the process so people could see what your journey is like doing the hybrid agriculture course.”
Mrs. Davis noted that BAMSI’s push to introduce cutting edge technologies and best practices across the sector was “right up her alley” as she learns more about Climate-Smart Agriculture and how the Bahamas can change its food landscape by using modern techniques and innovative methodologies.
She also expressed an interest in seeing BAMSI’s livestock division in particular continue to develop. BAMSI’s livestock sector currently boasts a healthy herd of sheep and goats, which have been used to breed with, diversify and strengthen the Bahamian pool of small ruminants, chickens and expected to come on stream shortly, a piggery. She also committed, through her tertiary initiative, to providing a scholarship for one or two persons who might be interested in taking one of the short courses.
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