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Agriculture Ministry to create Cultivation Centre food production hub

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By: Betty Vedrine

Bahamas Information Services

 

 

#TheBahamas, June 14, 2022 – With the pressing issue of food sustainability being a top priority for the government, the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs (MOAMRFIA), is aggressively pursuing avenues to bring this objective to fruition. To this end, a partnership has been formed with Volcani International Partnerships (VIP), to launch a Cultivation Centre hub for  agricultural production in the country.

The ‘Cultivation Centre’ is designed to promote greater interaction between technocrats and farmers, and will modernize food and agriculture systems in the country.  It will comprise a produce exchange, a fish and farm store, and food processing kitchens.

The announcement was made during a press conference held on Monday, 13th June at the Ministry’s headquarters on East Bay Street. VIP is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works with local partners to bring Israel’s leading agricultural experts and innovations to enhance global food security and economic prosperity. The objective of the $3 million initiative will be to pinpoint challenges and find solutions to accelerate the country’s food systems.

Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources & Family Island Affairs, the Hon. Clay Sweeting said that many countries around the world have tapped into Volcani’s expertise.

“As you may know, many countries around the world, have benefited greatly from Volcani’s vast expertise in innovative food production strategies,” he said. “Experts from Volcani have successfully assisted Israel to become one of the world’s leading agricultural centers; and just recently, Africa-based RELEAF and VIP (USA) together announced a letter of understanding which should address African food security challenges with the assistance of Israeli expertise and experience.”

Mr. Sweeting said that VIP is here to share advisory services through innovative soil testing and other technological advances. A team will travel to several islands with Ministry officials to produce a comprehensive report, which the government will use to develop best practices for heightened food production.

The team includes: Dr. Zvi Ron, agricultural economist and technical team leader; Prof. Sheenan Harpaz, an expert in aquaculture, fish nutrition and production; Mr. URI Adler, an expert in horticultural production in greenhouses, shade houses, hydroponics and organic agriculture; Mr. York Zvieli, expert in pest management for horticulture production; Mr. Yair Hada, who will be advising from Israel on poultry production; and Joanne Moore, international development professional and strategic advisor.

Israeli Ambassador to the Bahamas and Mexico, Mr. Zvi Tal, who attended virtually, delivered congratulatory remarks and said that he was elated to be a part of facilitating the partnership.

Executive Director of Volcani International Partnerships (USA), Ms. Danielle Abraham, said that although Israel and the Bahamas may appear to be very different countries, both countries face similar realities in establishing a thriving agriculture sector.

“Despite what you may have heard, Israel faced great adversity in developing its agricultural sector, because just like The Bahamas, it is not a natural nor easy place to succeed,” she said. “Israel is a tiny country, two-thirds of which is desert; it has a shortage of water resources; it is situated in a difficult neighborhood, where export markets have always been further afield and when it gained independence, it faced serious food insecurity and the population had ration books.”

Yet despite these challenges, she pointed out that in a short time, Israel was able to completely transform its agricultural sector and has emerged as a global leader in agricultural innovation.

During their week-long visit to The Bahamas, the team will travel throughout New Providence, Abaco, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera to assess prospective sites for the Cultivation Centre.

 

Photo Caption: The Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs is working  with Volcani International Partnerships to create a ‘Cultivation Centre’ food production hub in The Bahamas.  The announcement was made during a press conference held on Monday, 13th June at the Ministry’s headquarters on East Bay Street.  Pictured from left, during a press conference: Dr. Zvi Ron, agricultural economist and technical team leader; Professor Sheenan Harpaz, an expert in aquaculture, fish nutrition and production; Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Phaedra Rahming-Turnquest; Minister Clay Sweeting;  Ms. Danielle Abraham, Executive Director, Volcani; Mr. Uri Adler, an expert in horticultural production in greenhouses, shade houses, hydroponics and organic agriculture; Undersecretary, Bridgette Hepburn and Mr. Yoram Zvieli, expert in pest management for horticulture production.

(BIS Photos/Raymond Bethel)

 

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Bahamas News

National Food Policy to be created in the Bahamas

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

 

#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – A new initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs in the Bahamas will see the creation of a National Food Policy geared towards ensuring food security on the island.

“This agricultural policy would encompass a holistic approach and incorporate regulations, legislation, and other aspects to assist the farmers who have not really gotten the attention they deserve for a long time,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Hon. Clay Sweeting.

Other initiatives within the agriculture sector will also be implemented, such as the digitalization of applications and forms, which will make farming more efficient.

Clay said, “we have already digitalized for the most part the Department of Marine Resources and soon we will unveil new services such as dog licences, import permits, and other services needed for a successful agricultural sector.”

The construction of the Cultivation Centres (TCC) in Eleuthera and New Providence with produce exchange, food processing kitchens and farm stores will continue.

Sweeting said he hopes these initiatives will help to decrease the country’s yearly $1 billion food import bill.

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Consumer protection, 85 businesses to be put under watch 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

February 2, 2023 – Grocery stores and dozens of other businesses will be under the microscope soon as the government begins aggressively enforcing the Consumer Protection Ordinance passed back in 2016 with an all-new Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement (C.A.R.E) Drive.

Carried out by the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition the drive aims to “actively educate providers whilst enforcing the main provisions to protect consumers under the Consumer Protection Ordinance,” a press release explained.

Firstly, Consumer Officers charged with protecting the people of the TCI from unfair business practices will be assessing the prices of selected breadbasket items in 23 different stores countrywide each month to see whether price gouging is being carried out by businesses.

Breadbasket items are currently duty-free under the Food and Fuel Tax Break until the end of the financial year in March and all savings from those tax exemptions should be passed on directly to the consumer. After each assessment, which will continue for several months at least a monthly price report will be published on the Department of Trade’s website.

In addition, the Consumer Officers will be monitoring other business activities across the country “to ensure that providers are compliant with their duties to consumers.”

Those responsibilities include:

  • Giving customers certain basic information about goods and services being sold;
  •  Informing consumers about terms and conditions before any payment is made (e.g., warranties, refunds, returns, exchanges, etc.) and;
  • Abstaining from misleading and deceptive conduct, false representation and unfair business practices.

The government says they will reach at least 85 businesses with the C.A.R.E. Drive but they did not indicate the process behind how these businesses had been singled out. Non-compliant ones will be fined after a thorough investigation and warnings are issued by the Department of Trade.

With this in mind, business owners are being encouraged to familiarize themselves with their duties under the Ordinance lest they be caught in breach. The government did not say what entities would be assessed and whether that included major retail grocery stores, gasoline dealers, water companies, electricity providers, telecommunications companies and other essential providers of the services that all islanders spend on.

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74 Foreign Nationals Convicted in The Magistrate’s Court

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#TheBahamas, February 2, 2023 – In Magistrate’s Court #1 today, seventy-two (72) foreign nationals were arraigned before Magistrate Algernon Allen Jr. for various immigration offenses.

Thirty-two (32) Cuban nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) of them were subsequently sentenced to four months in the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS). Thirty (30) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department of Immigration to be deported.

A total of forty (40) Haitian nationals were convicted of Illegal Landing. Two (2) received custodial sentences of three months at BDOCS, and thirty-seven (37) were conditionally discharged and released to the Department to be deported. In addition to the charge of Illegal Landing, one (1) Haitian man was also convicted of Knowingly Attempting to Misleading an Immigration Officer and subsequently sentenced to six months at BDOCS on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Three (3) Haitian nationals were also charged with Overstaying. Two (2) pleaded guilty and were convicted. Respectively they were fined $2,000.00 or, in default of payment, served six months at BDOCS, conditionally discharged, and deported. One (1) Haitian female pleaded not guilty, and the matter was adjourned to a later date. Upon payment of fines, completion of sentences, and discharge, all persons were ordered to be turned over to the Department of Immigration for deportation.

The Department remains committed to executing our mandate to ensure compliance with the Statue Laws of our country.

For more information, call the Public Relations Unit at 1-242-322-7530, visit our website at www.immigration.gov.bs, or call our Investigation hotline anonymously, at 1-242-604-0249.

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