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BIMINI, The Bahamas - Educating youth on the economic value of agriculture is the approach that the Bimini All-Age School is taking to help reduce the national food import bill. Students are practicing at school how to grow their own vegetables in home gardens to encourage sustainability.
"We can grow almost anything in Bimini. The very same things that we grow over here, we are importing," said Arnold Dorsette, BAIC assistant general manager.
"What we need to do is grow more of it, and grow it in a way that we can grow it more consistently to our friends and family and some of the businesses that are importing it on Bimini."
Almost $500 million annually are spent every year to import food from other countries into The Bahamas. The Ministry of Agriculture wants Bahamians to understand the potential of personal wealth building by supporting local farmers and buying Bahamian agriculture products.
"Can you imagine last year we imported some 500 million dollars worth of food in The Bahamas," said Mr. Dorsette.
"That is a significant amount of money that is going out of the country to buy food, some of which we can grow and we are not taking advantage of growing and encouraging more of food production in the country."
There are many "perfect" wine and food combinations that are hard to ignore if you are a "foodie" however there are lots of combinations that are lesser known but equally intriguing. Most people have trouble pairing wines with spicy, salty or robust dishes, but there are answers to those predicaments!
Chinese food, with its sweet, sour and spicy elements makes for a challenge to find a good wine and food pairing. My suggestion is to stick with an off dry Riesling. There is a natural acidity that remains in Riesling wines regardless of its sweetness level, and this acidity will help to keep the palate fresh with spicy food.
The off dry versions (Rieslings can vary from bone dry to semi sweet to sweet) provide the sweetness needed to soften the perception of spice in a dish. If you are serving a sweet and sour dish, a Riesling will also complement the meal with its floral and apple bouquets.
Mild to medium spiced Indian curries also fall into an off dry Riesling pairing. Germany, Austria or Canada all have Rieslings that offer notes of melons and pears that can stand up to and complement aromatic spices of curries and cilantro. Gewurtztraminer is also a great choice for pairing with spicy foods, whether its curry or dishes with Asian based flavours. The name Gewurtztraminer translates into "spice wine", its aromatic, floral characteristics can enhance many spicy dishes.
Chicago will get a taste of The Bahamas next month as Bahamian chef Simeon Hall Jr. will treat participants of a special Food Network concert at the Ravina Festival to Bahamian culinary delights.The concert, which will be held on September 20, will attract thousands of food lovers to Chicago. It's the first time that The Bahamas will participate in the event.Chef Hall will be among 75 top chefs and will participate in the "Hot Hot" luncheon prepared by the Islands of The Bahamas."We are going to represent The Bahamas, and we have three categories that we are working with. One of them is a VIP event for 300 people and a major event for 1,200 people and then there is something even bigger than that. I am just working along with the Food Network kitchen to produce," said Hall.
"It is a great privilege but first and foremost representing The Bahamas anywhere is fantastic. We are doing everything uniquely Bahamian...down home. We will be preparing conch chowder, old fashioned peas and rice, dried conch, and we are doing a twist on a dish, which is a little bit more modern but it is still uniquely Bahamian. Everything that we are doing is going to be uniquely Bahamian."The concert will also draw music lovers to its doors as John Mayer will be performing. A Bahamian DJ that lives in Chicago will perform at one of the scheduled events.
"It's going to be very Bahamian, and we plan to take some Bahamian props over there and we want it to feel very local because we are taking these things over there to sell The Bahamas," said Hall.The chef representing The Bahamas has an extensive resume from working as an executive chef, food and beverage manager, executive sous chef and as a culinary expert at locations such as Walt Disney Cruises, Marriott Hotels, Island Catering Inc, Grenada W.I., Taino Beach Resorts Ltd. to Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort and The Ritz Carlton's Abaco Club to name a few.
Food retail consolidation is "inevitable" given the over-supply of competing chains and stores, AML Foods' chief executive telling Tribune Business it was likely to happen first in Freeport, where 10 major players were chasing 40,000-50,000 customers.
Gavin Watchorn, who is also the BISX-listed food retail group's president, said acquisitions were the likeliest route for achieving consolidation, given that no grocery retailers were contemplating failure, while the industry's "diverse" ownership meant mergers would be hard to execute.
With food retail industry veterans describing the current market as "the most competi ...
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
Doctors Hospital recognizes the plea from charities during this tough
economic time and has stepped up to the table with food donations for the
Urban Renewal annual Thanksgiving Luncheon.
Bahamians from all walks of life stood united in the warm glow of candlelight, to pray for relief of people living in poverty and hunger around the world.
AML Foods Limited has recorded a net profit of $1.06 million for the fourth quarter ending January 31, 2013 after pre-opening costs of $356,000, compared to $1.12 million for the same period in the previous year. The company has also registered a year-to-date net profit of $2.42 million after pre-opening costs of $590,000, compared to a prior year-to-date net profit of $1.74 million after pre-opening costs of $296,000.
"We continue to move our company in a forward direction, even in this challenging and competitive environment", said AML Foods President and CEO Gavin Watchorn in a press statement released yesterday. "The past 18 months have been very exciting for us, opening three new stores and growing our company's sales base significantly. Now, we are in a period of focusing on the fundamentals of our business and we will channel our energies towards improving our day to day operations."
The company also recorded a total sales increase of $8.03 million or 26.3 percent for the quarter and $29.48 million year-to-date or 29.9 percent
Total dividends of $926,000 were paid out year-to-date, $618,000 in May 2012 and $308,000 in January 2013.
Gross margin dollars for the quarter were $11.4 million or 29.6 percent of sales, reflecting an increase of $2.37 million or 26.3 percent over the same period in the prior year. Year-to-date gross margin dollars were $38.11 million or 29.7 percent of sales, an increase of $8.9 million or 30.5 percent over the prior year.
Selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) for the quarter increased by $2.04 million or 26.1 percent due to the addition of new stores. Year-to-date SG&A expenses increased by $7.78 million or 28.6 percent primarily due to the addition of new stores as well as some same store expense increases in utilities and repairs and maintenance. SG&A as a percentage of sales decreased year-to-date from 27.6 percent to 27.3 percent.
Watchorn further stated, "With so much of our resources directed towards expansion, we have been somewhat distracted from our core functions. We have spent the first quarter focusing on improving our customer service, product consistency levels and shrink. I expect that we will see the benefits of this focus in our results in 2013."
AML Foods Chairman Dionisio D'Aguilar added, "The economic environment that we are currently operating in continues to be challenging and highly competitive. The grocery business is being overbuilt, once again. This will lead to an overly competitive environment in the foreseeable future as different stores tussle for market share.
"In addition, high utility costs continue to impact businesses' ability to yield expected returns. However, despite these issues, we are confident that we will continue to record improvements in our returns to our shareholders in 2013, with expected profits of $3.5 million to $4.0 million."
He continued, "Our company has responded to these challenges by refocusing on the core fundamentals of our business, customer service, product consistency and shrink control. We are committed to our customers in all of our brands and believe that we deliver on both quality and value everyday to our many loyal customers."
D'Aguilar announced a final dividend of $0.04 per share, payable on May 3, 2013 to shareholders on record of April 26, 2013. This will result in a total dividend payment of $0.06 per ordinary share for 2012, a 50 percent increase over prior years.
Earlier this year, AML Foods Limited announced its decision to delay the opening of its first Carl's Jr. store due to the current economic environment. It expects to recommence this project in the latter part of 2013.