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ADO Tours Lucayan Produce, Farming support NGO continues fact-finding mission to explore what works



#TheBahamas, May 2, 2022 – Farms, like just about everything else, come in all sizes and shapes.  And like other items that come in various forms, what works for one may not work for all.

“That’s what we are learning as we go along,” says Philip Smith, Executive Chairman of the Agricultural Development Organization, the recently launched non-government organization formed to support farming and the culture of self-sustaining food security.  “While it is evident that there is a huge difference in resources and production capabilities between a mass production facility like Lucayan Tropical Produce and a backyard farmer in Cat Island, what is most interesting to us is how we can learn from both and help each other.”

Learning prompted a tour of Lucayan Tropical Produce, an impressive 20,000 square meters of greenery, soil, plants, shade houses, refrigeration, boilers, equipment, endless rows of cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes and one element that is harder to replace – perseverance.

“We started in the fourth quarter of 2006 and it took us over 10 years to begin to get it right,” explained Tropical Produce President Cameron Symonette, with a hands-on approach and knowledge of everything from the value of a fistful of seeds to what reverse osmosis does to the environment.

The most surprising lesson they learned was how dynamic agriculture versus other traditional manufacturing businesses were, what Symonette and his father, Craig, a director of the company, call “the continuous puruist of a happy plant, one that wants to produce.”

“We changed systems and management four times and kept trying to get it right,” says the younger Symonette.  “We felt we could produce 100% of the market needs for cucumbers and 100% of the island of New Providence’s need for Bahamian tomatoes but it just wasn’t happening.”

What stood in the way was lack of a significance difference between night and day temperatures.

“Under good farming conditions, a plant stresses every day in the heat and relaxes at night,” says the company president.  “In The Bahamas, there is little difference between night and day so the plant is stressed most of the time given the rolling average of difference being so small.  It took us a long time to figure that out, to figure out what made the happy plant.”

Now, with strictly controlled temperatures, constant refrigerated trucking and a new closed loop temperature controlled chill house under intense lighting, the lettuce Lucayan Tropical Produce turns out is heartier and is proving to have a  longer shelf life than other products available in the marketplace, says Symonette.  Thanks to the new indoor growing system, the company is able to produce lettuce year-round.  Despite growing up to five varieties of tomatoes, the extreme summer heat puts a halt to that production.

Lucayan Tropical supplies about 65% of the cucumber market with both slender European cucumbers and traditional.

For ADO director Karen Casey, the visit to Lucayan Tropical Produce off the beaten path in western New Providence was affirmation of what founders of the relatively new NGO suspected.

“It takes a tremendous investment to create a massive scale successful farm in The Bahamas,” said Casey, president of Sysco Bahamas, the largest wholesaler of food in the country.  “It reinforces our need to focus on cooperative crop planting and we are extremely grateful that the Symonettes have offered to help us in that.”

Smith said the happy plant and other lessons would be helpful to farmers throughout The Bahamas.

“Craig and Cameron shared 16 years of experience with us, experience we can take back to workshops on community farming, backyard and schoolyard farming,” said Smith.  “This has been an incredibly valuable tour.”

ADO was formed in early January with a $1.1 million grant from FTX, the first large gift awarded by the giant blockchain trading platform after opening its headquarters in The Bahamas.  FTX CEO Ryan Salome serves on the steering committee along with Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley, businessman and former Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, Karen Casey and Smith, who is the former executive director of the Bahamas Feeding Network.  More than a dozen community and civic leaders serve on various committees.


Release: Agriculture Development Organization

Photo Captions: 

Header: Fact-finding tour – Lucayan Tropical Produce President Cameron Symonette explains benefits of sharp changes in night and day temperature for healthy ‘happy’ plants to visitors from the new food security NGO Agricultural Development Organization. Picture l-r, ADO directors Diane Phillips, Executive Chairman Philip Smith, Sysco Bahamas President Karen Casey and in background next to Symonette, Craig Symonette who founded Lucayan Tropical in 2006.

1st insert: Agricultural Development Organization (ADO) director and president of Sysco Bahamas Karen Casey talks tomatoes with Lucayan Tropical Produce. ADO was formed to make self-sustaining food supply a reality for The Bahamas.

2nd insert: A world of cucumbers – Lucayan Tropical Produce supplies about 65% of the local demand for cucumbers, growing European and standard varieties under these leafy greens. ADO toured Lucayan Tropical recently as part of a 3-month fact-finding tour to gather information helpful to farmers throughout The Bahamas at all levels from backyard to community and beyond.

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Bahamas News

Grand Bahama to be CARGO HUB, as Bahamas & Qatar ink MOU 



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#TheBahamas, September 29, 2023 – With moves to deepen ties, governments of The Bahamas and Qatar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to solidify agreements in principle surrounding the development of aviation and other related services.

This is according to Chester Cooper, The Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister  of Tourism, Investment and Aviation in a Facebook post.

This comes after The Bahamas Government in a press release on September 24th, revealed that Cooper,  was set to meet with the head of Qatar Airways to have talks regarding “multiple mutually beneficial aviation opportunities for both countries.”

The release also said the deputy prime minister and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation are working on “forging strategic partnerships with several Middle Eastern countries to strengthen ties to The Bahamas and the Caribbean,” and this new signing is indicative of such efforts.

Following the September 25th signing, on September 27th, Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General  of Tourism for The Bahamas informed via Facebook some details of the agreement saying, “we have now established a framework for cooperation and formed strategic partnerships with Qatar Airways, Qatar’s Transport, Aviation and Investment Agencies and The Qatar Aeronautical Academy, that will benefit our country.”

Regarding further efforts for the improvement of The Bahamas, Cooper announced on Facebook again on Tuesday September 26th that both countries are working  to make Nassau a passenger hub for Latin America and the Caribbean adding that talks are being held for Grand Bahama as a cargo hub.

Additionally, as the press release informed, Cooper is preparing for an on ground visit of Bahamasair domestic operations by Qatar Airways Technical team sometime in October.

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Bahamas News




Defence Headquarters 28 SEP ’23: HMBS P-45 under the command of Chief Petty Officer Acadia Smith detained a group of Cuban migrants in Cistern Cay, Exuma on September 27, 2023, due to information received from a Good Samaritan vessel in the area that handed them over to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.

Members of HMBS P-45 retrieved twenty-eight (28) Cuban nationals and transported them to HMBS Coral Harbour in New Providence.  All individuals appeared to be in good health and will undergo further processing and assessment by Immigration officials.

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force remains dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in guarding our heritage and appreciates the sharing of information and intelligence provided by the boating community to affect migrants and other unlawful interdictions at sea.

(For additional information, contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our official website at Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and explore our engaging content on our YouTube channel).


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CTO mourns the passing of former chairman Obediah Wilchcombe



#BARBADOS (September 26, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) deeply mourns the loss of distinguished Bahamian leader and former chairman of the inter-regional body, Obediah Wilchcombe.

At the time of his passing, Mr. Wilchcombe was serving as Minister of Social Services, Information and Broadcasting and Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly of the Bahamas.

“We extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to Minister Wilchcombe’s family, as well as the government and people of the Bahamas. He was a true champion for the people of the Bahamas and the wider Caribbean region,” remarked Kenneth Bryan, CTO Chairman and Minister of Tourism and Ports of the Cayman Islands.

Chairman Bryan recalled Minister Wilchcombe held the position of CTO Chairman twice (2002-2004 and 2016-2017) while serving as Minister of Tourism for the Bahamas, and contributed significantly to the advancement of sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean.

Chairman Bryan noted that the CTO plans to honor the life and legacy of “this eminent Bahamian leader” at the organization’s upcoming business meetings and the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Turks and Caicos next month.

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