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BAIC reduces debt, generates $300K from pop-up farmers market

The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) announced in a press release yesterday that last year it reduced its debt by more than half a million dollars and generated almost $300,000 in new revenue from its pop-up farmers market.

The release hails last year’s successes as having turned around a government corporation that was “on life support”.

BAIC Chairman Michael Foulkes said in the release that the corporation’s debts totaled $3,122,885.

“We later discovered that it exceeded that amount,” he said.

“Our cash position for the entirety of the corporation was a meager $20,000-plus on hand, with about 200 employees and operations in six Family Islands and New Providence.

“We are grateful to Renward Wells, then minister of agriculture and marine resources, for advocating for the funds which were paid to the corporation by the Bahamas government in the amount of $500,000. We also thank the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest, and Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, prime minister, for their gracious support.”

Foulkes said BAIC’s cash position has now improved by 700 percent, ending the year with $138,338.26.

“We anticipate by this Friday, January 11th, 2019, our cash on hand will be around $250,000,” he said.

According to the release, BAIC paid off its employee group medical insurance, which had been suspended for being four months in arrears, owing a total of $385,000.

BAIC also paid its livestock feed supplier, the Walpole Company, which it owed $65,000 in January, 2018. Foulkes said payments are now made to the company as they are due.

After having pop-up farmers markets on 17 occasions around New Providence, twice in Grand Bahama, and on Gladstone Road a total 46 Saturdays, the corporation’s revenue for the year totaled $271,823.

“All cash sales were totally new funds in the corporation and all essentially from a new business.” Foulkes said.

“We are also pleased to report that our primarily family island farmers’ payments for the 2018 calendar year totalled $198,430. We note that the farmers’ payments are current through last month and we are pleased to report that the family island farmers received a check from BAIC every month in 2018, with few exceptions.”

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