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BAIC farmers’ markets selling out of fresh produce quickly

The Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation’s (BAIC) newly appointed chairman, Gregory Collie, said Friday that The Bahamas has to get Bahamian farmers to produce more and get more people involved in farming, lamenting that the corporation’s pop-up farmers’ markets typically sell out of fresh produce very quickly. According to Collie, in two to three hours, the farmers’ market can be sold out of produce.

“We can’t get enough produce to keep it going,” he said. “We are encouraging our farmers to return to the farm.”

It was revealed in January that BAIC’s pop-up markets brought the entity $300,000 in new revenue.

Collie said the corporation hopes to expand that number this year by taking the farmers’ market model to the Family Islands.

He added that BAIC needs to get the technical expertise to farmers so that the seasons for certain fruits and vegetables can be expanded.

“Greenhouses are a way to do that,” he said.

In January, BAIC’s then chairman, Michael Foulkes, said the corporation’s debts totalled $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 2018 with $138,338.26.

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