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BAMSI expanding teaching regime into beef production, as Brazil ban raises concerns

The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) is about to expand into poultry, pork, beef cattle and dairy cattle husbandry and production as a part of its teaching regime, the institute’s director, Godfrey Eneas, told Guardian Business yesterday, as the reality begins to set in over worldwide bans of Brazilian beef.

The recall of beef from the world’s largest beef exporter has affected even corned beef, an ingredient used in a staple breakfast dish in The Bahamas. The revelation has ignited the conversation on food security for the country and the general health of the people.

And with Fulbright Scholar Allison Karpyn presenting the first round of her findings on food security and its connection to the health of The Bahamas’ population next Friday at the University of The Bahamas, the conversation on sustainable food sources in the country is becoming more important than ever.

Karpyn said she recognized BAMSI as the nation’s response to its food insecurity concerns, hailing The Bahamas as being “out in front” and remaining aware of the “challenges that climate change and reliance on imports creates”.

Eneas said The Bahamas is in catch-up mode because the former Free National Movement administration had a duty reduction policy.

“They reduced the duty on the poultry sector and pork sector and drove those sub-sectors out of business,” he said.

“As a result there is no poultry industry, no egg industry, no eggs are being produced, and swine production has been at a subsistence level.”

Eneas said BAMSI has embarked on a program to increase mutton production.

“We have imported a range of breeds of sheep and goats, and we have the largest mutton herd in Andros,” he said.

He added that CARICOM enacted measures to deter foreign companies from dumping old poultry on companies in the region. He said the Caribbean was once a dumping ground for four to five-year-old poultry.

“Finally, through BAMSI, the country is being awoken to the fact that you must take definitive steps to feed yourself,” Eneas said.

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