The Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs signed an agreement with The Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Hunan Province (China) to initiate agricultural cooperation in ceremonies at the Ministry on Friday, May 19, 2023. Minister Clay Sweeting was in attenance. He said this agreement will continue to advance the government’s agenda to achieve food security.
“We will implement a two-year agreement where two Chinese experts will reside in The Bahamas and provide technical support to construct a number of greenhouses on an acre of land at the Gladstone Road Agricultural Centre (GRAC),” said the Minister.
“China has been working assiduously to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from crop and livestock farming, increase soil carbon sinks, improve biodiversity protection, facilitate the restoration of agricultural ecosystems, and support local governments to integrate environmental and decarbonization goals in rural revitalization plans and investment projects.”
He said work is also being done in multiple fields, to provide farmers and members of cooperatives with training and agricultural extension services, and encourage farmers and food processors to adopt climate-intelligent agricultural technologies and good agricultural practices.
The Minister noted, given that Hunan is also home to the Hunan Agricultural University (HUNAU) with a total of 27,570 full-time undergraduate students and 5,044 graduate students, they have an impressive track record that makes them especially suitable to assist the Bahamas.
“We understand that HUNAU has won 27 national scientific and technological achievement awards, with more than 300 new varieties approved and 1,400 patents granted, which include varieties of rapeseed, rice, corn, potatoes, peanuts, teas, grapes, cotton, citrus, tobacco, vegetables and other practical products, which have been widely promoted throughout China.”
Minister Sweeting said that China’s efforts mirror those of The Bahamas as the government promotes climate smart farming and agri-technological advances in several Family Islands — with the establishment of a digital village in Eleuthera. Similar projects will also be duplicated in other islands. He added that efforts are also being made to strengthen the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI).
“We are also enhancing our own institution, the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute with programmes such as the newly launched Egg-Academy, which will tie into the Golden Yolk programme in partnership with the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation.”
Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas, Her Excellency Ms. Dai Qingli said that this was a great partnership for both The Bahamas and China. She said that China was excited to be able to assist The Bahamas in this way, given the current issues with food security throughout the world.
The Chinese experts are expected to arrive shortly; and while here they will provide a technical manual for vegetable planting in The Bahamas through six test reports on various vegetables. They will also assist with the construction of three steel-frame vegetable greenhouses; and hold two training events on vegetables suited to household and commercial farming. In addition, Bahamians will be hired to assist with the construction of the greenhouses: they will be trained in greenhouse construction and operations.
By BETTY VEDRINE/Bahamas Information Services
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