|BAIC visits North Andros to review projects|
|BAIC visits North Andros to review projects|
|Tuesday, 15 June 2010 07:54|
NORTH ANDROS, The Bahamas -- Edison Key, Executive Chairman of The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation and his executive management team visited North Andros on Friday, June 11, to review current projects and to explore several new initiatives.
Benjamin Rahming, General Manager, BAIC; Arnold Dorsett, Assistant General Manager, BAIC and Judith Thompson, Assistant General Manager, Property Management Department accompanied Mr Key.
Meeting the team on arrival were Alphonso Smith, BAIC’s Domestic Officer, Andros and Ayrett Lightbourne, Farm Manager for Andros.
The group visited the site where fruit trees and cash crops will be cultivated in a greenhouse that will be constructed, using materials and manpower from Jamaica.
Mr Key said the greenhouse would allow the fruit trees and cash crops to be grown in a controlled environment.
Greenhouses protect crops from too much heat or cold, shield plants from dust storms and blizzards, and help to keep out pests.
Light and temperature control allows greenhouses to turn inarable land into arable land, thereby improving food production in marginal environments.
Greenhouses also allow certain crops to be grown throughout the year.Mr Key said the project can be duplicated on other islands in The Bahamas but the Corporation is putting a lot of emphasis on Andros because of its vast acreage and close proximity to Nassau, which is the country’s main market.
BAIC has taken nearly all the supermarkets and the wholesalers to Andros, to see farmers in action during the planting and harvesting seasons, he explained.
“What we have been trying to do is to bring the wholesalers and the farmers together, so they can sell direct instead of going to the Produce Exchange, where they never know what they are going to get. This way the farmers are selling right to their market,” Mr Key said.
“The Government does not have to be involved,” he added.
Given that there is still so much land in Andros, Mr Key said in the future, four or five additional greenhouses can be constructed on Andros.
He said the reason for promoting the growing of cash crops with fruit trees is that for the three to four years fruit trees will take to blossom, the cash crops can be making money to sustain the farmers.
Mr Key also explained that cash crops that include produce like cassavas, peppers, Irish potatoes and cabbage, take only about three months from planting to harvesting.
Moreover, he noted that there are different varieties of fruit trees that are grown at different times, so farmers can also rotate the types of fruit trees so they would always be harvesting something.
In the meantime, BAIC has brought tractors as well as two refrigerated trailers to help farmers in Andros. The trailers will be rented to the farmers to keep their produce fresh until ready for shipping to Nassau.
After the workshop, Sheena Rolle, representative for Local Government in Andros explained that she and other farmers learned how to grow cash crops free of viruses and weevil in their fields.
The BAIC team met up with Ms Rolle at the site the Bahamas Agricultural Research Centre and Local Government want to set up a farmers’ market where locals and visitors would be able to buy produce, other food items and drinks.
Ms Rolle told the BAIC team that when the boat bringing visitors comes to the island, the packinghouse is closed so farmers could sell their produce at the site thus also promoting agri-tourism.
BAIC is being asked to offer technical help and advice toward the venture.
The team also got to see a successful pasture that BAIC set up. BAIC donated the goats, fenced in the area and planted the protein rich grass that the goats graze on.
Photo 2: The BAIC team checks out the proposed site for a North Andros farmers’ market planned by the Bahamas Agricultural Research Centre, who wants help from the Corporation. Pictured from left standing outside the stall: Sheena Rolle, representative for Local Government in Andros; Ayrett Lightbourne, Farm Manager for Andros and Judith Thompson, Assistant General Manager, Property Management Department. Standing inside the stall from left: Benjamin Rahming, General Manager, BAIC; Edison Key, Executive Chairman, BAIC and Alphonso Smith, BAIC’s Domestic Officer. (BIS photo/Llonella Gilbert)
Photo 3: Edison Key, Executive Chairman, BAIC (left) talks with BAIC Benson McDonald in charge of BAIC’s machinery in Andros and Judith Thompson, Assistant General Manager, Property Management Department in front of a tractor and equipment to be used to build a greenhouse. (BIS photo/Llonella Gilbert)