Bahamas lagging behind in profitable agricultural sector
While the Latin America and Caribbean region has become the largest exporter of agricultural commodities in the world, The Bahamas remains a minor producer and supplier of agricultural trade in the region. The sector contributes less than 2 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development’s Agricultural Outlook 2019-2028 took a specific look at the region, which it said is expected to further reinforce its position as a leader in agricultural commodities over the coming decade.
The region, according to the report, now accounts for 14 percent of global production and 23 percent of the world’s export of agricultural and fisheries commodities.
However, Michele Singh, who is the country representative for the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), said The Bahamas is missing out on a profitable way to diversify its economy.
“Crop and livestock production have tremendous potential in The Bahamas,” she said.
“Number one would have to be small ruminants, meaning sheep and goat production. And while we talk about that, I think The Bahamas should eye nutrition security. Because for any small country such as ours and the rest of the Caribbean, we can never be one hundred percent food-secure, but what we could try to do is make sure we have a healthy population.”
CARDI is a regional body dedicated to helping member states increase food and nutrition security. The Bahamas joined CARDI in June 2016.
This year’s Agricultural Outlook 2019-2028 revealed that by 2028, the region will account for more than 25 percent of global exports in agricultural and fisheries products, underscoring the importance of trade openness at the global level.
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