Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard yesterday called for several measures to be implemented to increase food production in The Bahamas and reduce reliance on imports amid the global COVID-19 crisis.
“[T]he Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources has produced an emergency food production plan to strengthen food and nutrition security in this time of crisis,” he said.
Pintard called for the strengthening of production systems of existing farmers in The Bahamas. He also called for the purchase of hydroponic systems and the re-establishment of the backyard farming program, among other measures.
He said the ministry also intends to introduce a “fisher’s market” to make local fish more available and affordable for the public.
Pintard said the recommendations would cost over $1.6 million.
He said it would include the purchase of 343 hydroponic systems at a cost of $343,000; the purchase of 10,000 backyard gardening kits at a cost of $240,000; the intensification of production of roots and tubers, vegetables, legumes, and fruits and a program to intensify egg production estimated to cost $376,217.
Pintard said his ministry plans to assist farmers by assisting in clearing farmland, beginning on Abaco and Grand Bahama.
“[W]e have plans to assist 19 on Grand Bahama and 40 on Abaco at a total cost of some $479,600,” he said.
“The remaining funds allocated for this initiative will be shared with the other farmers throughout The Bahamas.”