Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Hon. Clay Sweeting will bring remarks at the inaugural Food for Summit and Expo in Dubai from February 23-24. Minister of Environment and Climate Change HE Miriam Al Mheiri of UAE, who also has
responsibility for Agriculture, invited the Minister to speak and participate in a world leadership panel on food security.
The Summit and Expo is expected to bring together over 100 countries that have a focus on food security. It is being hosted in conjunction with United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The event is a part of Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods week at the World Expo
The Minister is expected to lead a delegation of 19 persons from various departments in his portfolio including the Bahamas Agricultural Health and Food Safety Authority (BAHFSA), Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), Bahamas Agricultural Industrial
Corporation (BAIC), the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Marine Resources among other ministry officials.
“We are looking to gain a lot of knowledge and interact and hopefully explore the possibilities where we can work along with other governments to aid in our fight for food security. We want to mix with persons not just across the world but with persons who have intimate knowledge on how we can modernize the industry, see technological advances in the sector and to really network with persons that have beaten the challenges of food security,” Minister Sweeting said.
“We have a challenge with technology, modernization and getting persons involved in the sector.
We’ve seen that a lot of farmers are of age and the transfer of knowledge is not happening. We’ve missed a generation or possibly two. We are looking at engaging younger persons and finding ways for them to become successful farmers.”
Minister Sweeting also highlighted the world’s challenge of rapid inflation of worldwide prices. “A global challenge right now is pricing and small countries such as The Bahamas are significantly impacted more than larger countries. I think it is important that we grow where we
live and that is one of the major challenges,” he explained. “So if we are able to grow here in The Bahamas then we are able to fight this global challenge of food shortage and the cost of food as well.”
Minister Sweeting said he is eager to foster relationships with other countries for food security. “Nothing gets done as well as meeting people face to face. We are growing relationships with people across the world in the sector and you are able to have some hands on technology training and some hands on knowledge of what we can do,” he said.
“Israel has done a wonderful job of providing food for their people. Dubai is in the middle of the desert and they are doing pretty well there, and so we are hoping to find some way to bring that technology home.”
Meanwhile, Minister Sweeting said the Ministry is working feverishly to execute a National Food Strategy.
“We are working on it now and looking for something that would last long term. The Blueprint for Change has provided some linkage of what we are supposed to do there. The National Development Plan from the Christie administration also provides a 20 to 30 year plan of what we are supposed to do in all sectors inclusive of Agriculture. And so, we are just building upon that,” he said.