Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) wants more Bahamian produce in tourism

NASSAU, Bahamas – Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) has plans for more local produce to appear on menus of hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses, Deputy General Manager Don Major said.

And, in facilitating that, BAIC is leasing farm land “at a low cost” to Bahamians interested in pursuing food production, he told the Bahamas Agro-Tourism Symposium, Thursday.

It was put on by the Bahamas Agricultural Producers Association (BAPA) along with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, and the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA).

The Government, through BAIC, has leased land for food production in North Andros, Abaco, Eleuthera and South Andros, said Mr Major, head of the Business Advisory Services Department.

BHA president Robert Sands was satisfied that Bahamians are now producing high quality agricultural products.

“A number of producers have demonstrated success already in linking agriculture with tourism,” he said.

“There are already some hotels and tourism-oriented restaurants which are purchasing whatever they can through local producers.”

Mr Major added that BAIC has started working with partners to increase production by training farmers in best practices, and new techniques and technologies.

Through the formation and development of farmers associations, he said, consistency in quality, supply and delivery schedules can be maintained.

BAIC is increasing market access by bringing buyers and sellers together, developing a national database of crop inventory, and working with the Bahamas Sustainable Tourism Entrepreneurial Management and Marketing Project and farmers associations, he said.

BAIC is encouraging agri-business by leasing land at a low cost for factories and processing operations, he said.

In conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, BAIC is conducting courses in food processing, he said.

Under the chairmanship of Edison M Key, MP, South Abaco, BAIC has trained hundreds of Bahamians on all the major islands in the art of souvenir production using ingredients indigenous to The Bahamas.

”Tourists have made it known in no uncertain terms that they prefer Bahamian-made souvenirs when they come here,” said Mr Major.

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