More than 126 people have applied for the Sustainable Food Growth Grant, which is meant to incentivize farmers, fishers and agribusiness practitioners to bolster food production in The Bahamas.
The grant, which was launched through the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre last month, gave applicants access to up to $50,000 towards their budding or existing businesses. The grant may be used to purchase land, construction services, renovation equipment, furniture, fixture, vehicles, boats, supplies and much more. The Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs allocated more than $1 million for the grant. Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Hon. Clay Sweeting said he was thrilled with the immense interest in food production.
“We are turning a corner towards progress for food production in our country,” he said.
“With so many applicants interested in receiving the grant, we are looking forward to seeing more food production businesses flourish and the creation of numerous jobs. I am excited to see what new products and services will come from successful applicants.” SBDC’s Interim Executive Director Samantha Rolle said she was not surprised at the overwhelming response for the grant.
“There is an overwhelming interest in the agribusiness industry as business owners have recognized the integral role sustainability plays in food production. I strongly believe that we also need to take into consideration the various stages of the food value chain (processing and packaging, transport and logistics, retail and food service) as these businesses will breed increased production, market accessibility and higher incomes in the years,” she said.
“We are hopeful that there will be additional funding opportunities and programme interventions in collaboration with The Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Islands Affairs to continuously aid the growth of our agribusiness sector and support our entrepreneurs in this industry.”
After passing the initial screening, successful applicants must do a viral training in food security, emerging trends, post-harvest management, financial reporting and exporting.