August 19, 2013
The proposed Agricultural and Marine Science Institute at The College of The Bahamas will help to promote food security in The Bahamas, with the establishment of a "tutorial commercial" farm.
The institute, slated to open in August 2014, will be located at the North Andros Campus of the institution and will provide teaching, skills training, professional development, research and extension work in the fields of agriculture and marine science.
It is one of several Centers of Excellence that will mark the coming of the University of The Bahamas in 2015.
The institute will provide strong academic training and extensive hands-on orientation in crop and livestock production, farm management, environment conservation and agri-business.
It would offer certificate, diploma and associate degrees in collaboration with additional partners including The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC).
College of The Bahamas Professor Olivia Saunders, team leader, University Transition Secretariat (UTS), said The Bahamas imports over $1 billion worth of food each year, and it is time for us as Bahamians to reduce our reliance on others to feed us.
"The vision for The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute is to significantly improve the capacity of Bahamians to feed themselves and manage their own resources," she said.
"In addition to deepening the capacity of a people to become more self-reliant, national development also means a broader economic base and local ownership of the wealth generating engines of the economy.
"This Institute embodies these ideals and there is no more appropriate place for it to be situated than the national university. Also there is no better time than now."
College of The Bahamas President Dr. Betsy Vogel-Boze, pointed out that the institute has the potential to protect the marine environment, lessen the country's dependence on imported food and develop a strategic advantage in the production of select crops.
"This institute will be an impetus for economic prosperity in North Andros and a better quality of life in The Bahamas.
It has the potential to develop new plant species and create real solutions to real problems.
Beyond production, the institute will provide students, researchers, farmers and fishermen from the Caribbean and beyond expertise in nutrition, food processing and handling and health and safety," said Dr. Boze.
Three working groups - agriculture and research, marine science and research and logistics - have been formed to develop and refine the curriculum, and identify research opportunities to provide the Ministry of Works with a written brief that speaks to facility needs.
The group are also mandated to ensure the opening of the institute to students, faculty and researchers by fall 2014.
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