September 14, 2021
THE Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) donated some 500 fruit seedlings to the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources’ Frobisher Agro-Village in Freeport, Grand Bahama earlier this week. The donation included 450 sugar apples seedlings and approximately 45 sour orange/citrus root stock, Stephen Turnquest, Chairman of the Board for BAMSI, confirmed. “The plant donation is in keeping with BAMSI’s mandate to increase this nation’s ability to feed itself through sustainable measures, while also providing education opportunities, for young Bahamians in particular, to grow the agriculture sector.
“What we want to see are more Bahamian farmers growing native fruits and vegetables and using best practices to ensure that we have a ready supply of fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the year. The research work that we are doing in our greenhouse in Andros will go a long way in helping to provide farmers with essential information on planting, harvesting, soil preparation, pest control and proper irrigation methods,” the Chairman said.
The seedlings arrived in New Providence from BAMSI’s North Andros greenhouse earlier this week and by Friday were on a boat to Freeport.
This donation reflects BAMSI’s drive to build a healthy stock of local fruit seedlings that can help grow the industry. BAMSI Farm Administrator Stephen Adderley said to date the BAMSI farm is growing sugar apples, sour oranges/citrus root stock, tamarind seedlings sourced from Thailand, soursop and mangoes avocados and coconut trees that are resistant to the lethal yellowing disease. By early 2022 these seedlings will be ready to share with farmers across the Bahamas.
Also set to benefit from the increased activity in the greenhouse are BAMSI students. With the recent start of the new semester, students at the Institute will be able to get hands-on experience with budding, root tree propagation, and grafting. Beyond the greenhouse and the school’s research plot, students will also get hands-on experience on the commercial farm – from the small ruminant section, the recently launched poultry production, open field production, and the hydroponics and aquaponics sections.
Mr. Adderley added that farm officials are looking to create an herb greenhouse where they grow ginger, garlic, thyme, rosemary and other herbs used in Bahamian cooking for the student cafeteria. He said also that he hopes to be able to share some of the ginger plants with the public to encourage home chefs to start their own herb gardens.
And all of this falls in line with the mission and objectives of the Frobisher Agro-Village, which was started April 2020. A multi-sector agricultural initiative that has achieved great success in other destinations, the Bahamas government and private sector and international stakeholders believe the agro-village will help significantly increase economic growth and employment generation in the sector. And will also lay the ground work for the construction of a sustainable food bank in Grand Bahama.
Facilitated through the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Garnell Pelecanos, Strategic Development Consultant with the Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources, said the eight-acre village consists of a diverse, Bahamian-based array of edible live-scaping.
“The Minister wanted to put in esthetically pleasing native fruit trees so we sourced fruit trees from all around. We approached Mr. Turnquest from BAMSI for a contribution and he made the arrangements for the donation. We thank BAMSI for its swift cooperation and generous donation and we look forward to your continued cooperation,” she said.
Stakeholders for the project include the Bahamas Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (BAFSA), Department of Forestry, Local Government and the Grand Bahama Port Authority. Joining the operation are a number of international agencies including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
A similar Agro-Village project was recently launched in New Providence on Gladstone Road.