Christie before leaving for CHOGM showed commitment to transforming Agricultural Sector

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Prime Minister Perry G. Christie along with several officials symbolically break the ground at the site for the Bahamas Agricultural & Marine Science Research Institute in North Andros during a ceremony held Nov. 11, 2013. Pictured left to right: Prime Minister Christie, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development Philip Davis; Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government, V. Alfred Gray; Executive Chairman, Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation (BAIC), Arnold A. Forbes; Chairman, College of The Bahamas Council, Alfred Sears; and former chairman of BAIC, Edison Key. - BIS Photo/Derek Smith.

Nassau, The Bahamas – The Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Research Institute has been officially launched.

During a groundbreaking ceremony held in North Andros on Monday, November 11,  2013, the government made good on its promise to bring the project to fruition.

Prime Minister Perry Christie said the government is committed, not only to progress but also to the transformation of the agricultural sector.

“We share a vision – that as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of our nation’s independence, the future progress of our beloved Bahamians will depend, quite simply, on Bahamians,” said Mr. Christie. “That’s why a new era begins with a new school: the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Sciences Research Institute is the cornerstone of my government’s plan to realise our nation’s agricultural promise.”

Mr. Christie said the government’s “agriculture plan” has a holistic and forward-thinking agenda which would support infrastructural upgrades, promote the creation of value-added products, develop an urban agriculture programme, build new agri-business centres and strengthen trading relationships.

He said the country’s ever-increasing import bill is a driving force behind developing agriculture in The Bahamas. With hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on food imports annually, Mr. Christie said  the country would need to realise the full potential of its arable lands.

“You have heard today about the productive capacity of Bahamian lands – and you have heard about our growing import bill – hundreds of millions in food imports, year after year. We know we must bridge the gap. We know that making strides towards food security in the 21st century is a necessity, not a luxury,” said Mr. Christie.

According to the Prime Minister, the new Institute will be a centre for research-based activities; will provide hands-on training in fields such as crop and livestock production, farm management, environmental conservation and marine resources. The Institute will also offer academic instruction and will house an arboretum and a tutorial farm.