MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Executive chairman of The Bahamas Agricultural Industrial Corporation (BAIC) Leroy Major says his country will be partnering with leading agri-tech company ISRATECH Jamaica to boost agriculture there.
"We are here on a fact-finding mission with ISRATECH to partner with them because in the next month or so we are going to go into our banana and plantain project in The Bahamas," he said recently at the third annual 20 Twenty growth marketing conference at ISRATECH's store in Kendal, Manchester.
The conference, which was held under the theme 'The future is food', focused on farmers being engaged with manufacturers, including Grace Agro Processors, Carita Jamaica and Sankhard. The companies shared their produce needs list for the upcoming year with seasoned and new farmers at the conference.
Major told the conference that Bahamas imports most of its food.
"In The Bahamas we import between 9 and 12 million USD [annually] in bananas and plantain, but we want to cut that down…We are here today because we believe that you guys in Jamaica can help us. ISRATECH can help us," he said.
He said the expertise used in farming in Jamaica will help guide his country's agricultural programmes.
"This is my second visit to Jamaica. I came months ago to Denbigh and [it] was eye-opener for me; I couldn't wait to get back home in The Bahamas and let them know the knowledge that I have gained from Denbigh," he said.
A project, he said, is now ongoing in The Bahamas for the country to be self-sufficient in egg production.
"In The Bahamas we literally import almost all of our eggs. We have small farmers, but most of our eggs are imported, if the truth be told we import almost 99 per cent of the food that we eat," he added.
"Our country is very vulnerable because we depend on so many countries to feed ourselves and it is a Government initiative in The Bahamas that we be self-sustaining when it comes to food production," he added.
He said Jamaica's agricultural practices are highly recommended.
"We believe that the people in Jamaica can help us, you know what it is, how to grow your food, you know what it is when it comes to poultry production, even in livestock you know what it is all about," he said.
"What caused me to be enthusiastic about the people in Jamaica is that your farmers have such a wide scale; you find old farmers, middle-age farmers, even young farmers in Jamaica. That shows how strong you are when it comes on to agriculture, it shows that there is a great possibility that you could sustain what you have," he added.
"In The Bahamas, it is not so. Most of our farmers are very old and now we have sent out a message and we have new farmers coming on board through BAIC initiatives that we are offering," he said.