||Last Updated: Mar 2, 2018 - 9:31:32 PM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti –Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the
Hon. Renward Wells says he will take advantage of the knowledge-base of
CARICOM Institutions such as the Caribbean Agricultural Research
Development Institute (CARDI) and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries
Mechanism (CRFM) to re-assert The Bahamas as a major player in the
region’s agricultural sector, while simultaneously expanding marine
exports from The Bahamas.
The latter is of particular significance with regards to possibly
developing the area of the harvesting of pelagic species (open water
fish such as tuna, deep sea red snapper) in The Bahamas – one Minister
Wells says Bahamians have not been interested in pursuing in the past,
but one where there is “vast amount of resources in terms of tuna, deep
sea red snapper and those type of fish.”
Minister Wells held a number of discussions with regional counterparts
and officials of the two CARICOM Institutions while in Port-au-Prince,
Haiti, for the 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads
of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Established in 1975 by CARICOM Heads of Government to serve the
agricultural research and development needs of the then 12-Member
Countries within CARICOM, CARDI has provided “sterling contributions” to
the growth and development of the agricultural sector of Member
Countries of the Caribbean Community.
Launched in 2003, the CRFM promotes and facilitates the responsible
utilization of the region's fisheries and other aquatic resources for
the economic and social benefits of the people of the region. The CRFM
consists of three bodies – the Ministerial Council; the Caribbean
Fisheries Forum; and the CRFM Secretariat.
“We are an Executive Member of the Board of CFRM and we share
information with them especially in the areas of grouper and lobster
harvesting,” Minister Wells said.
“As a new Minister, and someone who is very much interested in expanding
our marine exports, I am very much interested in how we go about
developing the harvesting of pelagic species. It is an area of fisheries
Bahamians have never been really too interested in, but one that our
Caribbean partners have been involved (in) and so we are looking as to
how we can get them to cooperate with us - giving us the requisite
information that they would have experienced over the years and just
exploring those opportunities to really grow fisheries in the country.
“No man is an island and even the good book says in the multitude of counsel, there is safety, Minister Wells added.”
Minister Wells says the Government of The Bahamas pays its “fair share”
to the two CARICOM Institutions. He said officials at the Ministry of
Agriculture and Marine Resources intend to take advantage of this
expertise for the benefit of Bahamian farmers and fishermen.
“We are growing as a country on the agricultural side. (However), some
of our Caribbean partners are ahead of us in terms of agricultural
development and so I want The Bahamas to re-assert itself in that regard
for us to grow agriculture.”
Minister Wells says the country pays CARDI $188,000 a year. The
Institute has a representative stationed in The Bahamas working along
with The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute.
“At any point and time we call on CARDI in terms of experiences in
chicken growing and harvesting, the entire agricultural spectrum, and so
I am looking as to how we can maximize the knowledge-base in the
Caribbean in agriculture, to bring a lot of that here to the country, to
spread it through BAMSI, to spread it through us working along with the
farmers in the country so that we can take agriculture from strength to
strength,” Minister Wells added.
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