Government pledges to address food security

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By Betty Vedrine

In a bid to address food security in the country, the government has confirmed its commitment to expand and increase food production. During his contribution to the first session of Parliament on Wednesday, 27th October, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources & Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting, said that several plans are being established to meet this objective. Included among them is the revitalization of Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI).

“As food security continues to be a priority for this ministry, BAMSI is going to play a pivotal role in ensuring that our stock of seedlings, livestock, and data are maintained. The potential for BAMSI is limited only to what we can imagine. As a key center for scientific research, BAMSI has the potential to drive the future of food production throughout the country.”

He said that the Minister of Works has already committed to addressing all outstanding matters, including the electrification of empty buildings at BAMSI. The minister said that a full complement of staff and students are anticipated in the very near future. The government also plans to expand resources to assist farmers and fisherman to increase production. Minister Sweeting said that he has already met with traditional farmers, association leaders and entrepreneurs to discuss relevant matters on agriculture.

“We are increasingly aware of the global implications of food shortage,” said Mr. Sweeting “We will be working assiduously to ensure that The Bahamas can increase its production output in the shortest amount of time.”

He said that the mariculture industry is also ‘ripe’ for an increase in technological advances. “We must embrace the technology which is aimed at improving our efficiency to increase our productivity,” he said. “Additionally, we will begin to provide the research and data to diversify our fishing products.

There is a vast number of opportunities under the sea. The Ministry will work diligently with our fishermen to create new opportunities and open new markets.” He said that a recent visit to a facility was an example of how technology can assist. “I recently toured a facility on New Providence that is farming snappers for export. The tech and innovation can be revolutionary for others who see to enter the market.”