Above: BAIC farm manager Ayret Lightbourn answers questions from chefs about tomato production in North Andros (BIS Photo/Gladstone Thurston)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
A number of Bahamian chefs were on hand this weekend in North Andros to look at what could become a dynamic agricultural centre in the country.
The weekend tour, which included chefs from the One & Only Ocean Club, the Atlantis Resort, Breezes SuperClubs and others, was organized by the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation.
According to BAIC executive chairman Edison Key, New Providence-based buyers could represent a market for the country’s Family Islands that could be as high as $500 million.
“That is the value of the food products we import into this country — much of which we can produce right here,” Key said.
The chef’s team toured farms, the agroindustrial park, the docks and the government’s packing house.
“The chefs were all very excited by what they saw,” said Deanne Gibson, culinary tourism manager for the Bahamian Ministry of Tourism. “I am even more pleased that the chefs are interested in producing indigenous dishes using these products.”
The trip was part of a series of conferences BAIC has been arranging to connect New Providence with farmers in the country’s Family Islands.
North Andros has become a centre for agricultural promise in the Bahamas, particularly its North Andros Agri-Industrial Park, which is already producing a number of crops.
“I see great things in the future for chefs and farmers working together,” said Emmanuel Gibson, chef at the Ocean Club. “I believe we can get better products grown locally, the cost to consumers will be less, and the products will be fresher. We just have to come up with ways to make it happen.”
“There is no more time for talking,” he said. “We have to get people who are serious and make it work.”