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News : Local Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM

BAMSI Recruits Bahamian International Specialist in Feed Bio Technology
By BAMSI Bahamas
Feb 10, 2017 - 12:28:41 PM

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Bahamian Expert In Feed Bio Technology Returns Home To Work With BAMSI

Nassau, New Providence - With over a decade of research and field work in feed biotechnology, Dr. Jason Sands brings a wealth of international experience, industry exposure and technical expertise to the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI). His addition to the staff, as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Gladstone Road Agricultural Centre (GRAC), strengthens the human capital in place and further positions BAMSI as an agent of change in the development of this nation’s agriculture sector.

The move is further expected to reposition GRAC as a pivotal player in the industry, supporting the Institute’s overall goals of increasing food and nutrition security.

“The academic, research and extension themes of BAMSI are aimed at increasing the number of farmers, helping farmers develop better methods in agriculture, also in research to improve agriculture in the Bahamas and encouraging the general public to become involved in urban agriculture,” Dr Sands said.

Dr Sands’ work in feed bio technology looks at enzymes and examines how these additives can be used to improve the utilisation of nutrients in farm animals. He spent the last five years working as a technical advisor to large feed companies across Europe and the United Kingdom that supply feed additives, advising them and their customers on how best to apply feed additives to improve animal production.

Having worked in Europe primarily, but also across the globe, Dr. Sands acknowledged there is a big difference in the level of technology available in the Bahamas and even the work that needs to be done to increase and improve production, and implement sustainable measures in the industry.

Outlining what it will take for GRAC and the wider industry to be successful in its mission, Dr. Sands said, “it requires more efficient exploitation of existing human and natural resources, increasing the level of technological inputs, and also training of younger agricultural scientists to elevate the level of agriculture output. Increasing the amount of information available to farmers, in terms of scientific and technological resources is critical.”

Ultimately, success will be found in the industry’s ability to control its resources and manage them effectively. “The challenge, and I think that it will be a great challenge, is to use the resources that we have more efficiently to make real advancements in the field.”

In his role as COO, Dr. Sands is responsible for managing the activities of GRAC and ensuring its performance is consistent with BAMSI’s strategic plan. The move is a ‘relaunch’ of sorts for GRAC, and points to the government’s desire to see the centre emerge as a pivotal player in agriculture – bringing locally grown produce even closer to the country’s primary population centres.

Agriculture, and the development of the Bahamian industry, has always been important to Dr. Sands. As a boy in Eleuthera, he was surrounded by farmers and fresh produce. He had a keen interest in his grandparents farm activities and was part of a community where many families had a small plot or field. “The fact that you could always at any time of the year find a variety of local produce, this for me was one of the real benefits of that environment where more of what we eat is grown locally and why I feel that it’s essential that we get back to that because I think that’s a much more sustainable and healthy way to live.”

Having spent more than 20 years abroad, Dr. Sands said it was always his goal to return to the Bahamas and get involved in the nation’s agriculture sector. “I always kept that desire to return and to make a contribution and to help with the further development of agriculture in the Bahamas. With the establishment of BAMSI and the work that they are doing I felt that it was an excellent project that can help to further develop agriculture in the Bahamas and I wanted to be a part of that.

“I feel I can contribute to BAMSI’s effort by using contacts that I have established globally to encourage cooperation with internationally recognized scientists in research, and to some extent with private companies in terms of getting supplies of the latest advances in agriculture technology.

Dr. Sands holds a PhD in animal nutrition from Purdue University in Indiana, a master’s degree in animal science from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Tuskegee University in Alabama. He is also a graduate of the former College of the Bahamas – holding an associate’s degree in agribusiness.

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