In an effort to assist with the transformation of the agri-food systems in The Bahamas, the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have signed an Agreement for the development of a Digital Territorial Village in Eleuthera.
The village is a hub to create linkages between rural-urban communities for digital innovation ecosystems to drive the support of agribusiness in targeted communities on Eleuthera.
This will be accomplished through providing access to apps, e-commerce and other innovative technologies used to boost agriculture development.
It’s a pilot program that’s a part of the signing of FAO’s 2022-2026 Country Programming Framework (CPF), which allocated $200,000 in assistance to The Bahamas.
Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Clay Sweeting, signed the document with FAO Representative Dr. Crispim Moreira.
“What is important about this is that we have a working document that can move with the times. The Digital Village is something that I am very excited about because I believe that it is a way to bring the Family Islands closer to New Providence and also help with emerging markets to connect not just nationally, but internationally as well,” Sweeting said.
“We are excited about what we are about to do together and want to continue to foster this relationship.”
Within this framework, there is a commitment to develop mechanisms, instruments and partnerships to promote investments and funding to support youth and rural women entrepreneurs.
Dr. Moreira spoke to the importance of the document.
“Today, the signing of this instrument collaboration and cooperation is symbolic. It solidifies a commitment between the government of The Bahamas and FAO to strengthen and further our collaboration. It also represents FAO’s legitimate contribution to The Bahamas’ national development,” he said.
“Furthermore, this new CPF is aligned with the FAO’s new regional initiatives, and the principles of FAO’s Strategic Framework 2022 – 2031, which focus on the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment – leaving no one behind.”
The CPF is a tool used by the FAO to define its short and medium-term response to the needs of member countries in pursuit of their national development objectives.
It seeks to ensure access to and availability of safe and nutritious food and healthy diets; sustainable and inclusive agri-food systems and agricultural value chain development, to achieve prosperous and inclusive societies among Family Islands and resilience to climate and economic shocks through sustainable use and management of natural resources.
In September 2020, FAO launched the “1000 Digital Villages Initiative” program that promotes the digitization of services in rural areas.
Over the next four years, FAO is expected to increase its work in the country and strengthen its partnership with various ministries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UN Agencies and other development partners.