From the desk of Senator Hon., Clay G. Sweeting
Opposition Senator and Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government
For Immediate Release
January 25th, 2018
In 2013, the Government of The Bahamas approved a 20-year plan for Rebuilding Bahamian Agriculture. The centrepiece of the plan was the creation of BAMSI as a means of introducing an Import Substitution Policy to address the escalating annual food imports into The Bahamas which had passed the billion-dollar mark.
The 20-year plan identified thirty-two (32) crops which can be produced in The Bahamas to the level of self-sufficiency.
We welcome the Government’s decision to temporarily restrict pepper and tomato imports into the Bahamas as it was our vision for Bahamians to be able to feed themselves. Bahamian farmers are hardworking individuals, and farms such as Five Star Farms in Abaco are just an example of how Bahamians can be competitive produce suppliers in this country.
However, we also sympathize with the hard working farmers of this country, many of whom has not received the relief or support from the Government since the recent hurricane destruction. Many farmers and fishermen of this country was devastated as a result of last year’s hurricane season and they feel that they have not received the assistance necessary to rebound. Many have gone out of business!
We also note that the restriction by the Government also places an embargo on the importation of materials needed to grow these tomatoes and peppers which we feel should be lifted. You cannot cultivate these products competitively without the necessary exemptions on the materials.
We call upon the Government to look at means to further assist the farmers of this country and to continue to work with them and offer them the assistance needed to be competitive.