News Detail

February 28, 2024

Article for Publication - Deputy Prime Minister discusses BAMSI's role in growth of Sustainable Tourism

Government set to introduce Innovate242 programme to bolster containerized farming in the country.

BAMSI will play critical role in training and skills development for new sustainable agriculture initiative.

Nassau, Bahamas, February 28 th , 2024 – OUTLINING A VISION  for the future of Sustainable Green Tourism and agricultural development in the Bahamas, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism the Hon. I.Chester Cooper announced the Government’s plan to introduce Innovate242, an agricultural vehicle centered around containerized farming, and utilize the Bahamas Agriculture & Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) as the training and skills development lead on the project. He also explained that the vertical farming concept emerged in response to the lack of sustainable growth experienced by the nation’s agriculture sector over the past 50 years.

“The Government of The Bahamas in an initiative called Innovate242 has entered an agreement with a company in Ontario, Canada, called
Growers Inc., to do containerized farming with turn-key modular vertical farms. We expect that the first farm will be delivered to BAMSI shortly
where the training and skills development will happen. Then we anticipate that Growers will deliver three additional units for Exuma,
Grand Bahama and Eleuthera.”

Mr. Cooper made the announcement during his keynote address at BAMSI’s graduation ceremony for its National Certification programmes in Flats Fishing and Nature Tour Guide. The two programmes, with a total of 40 participants, are the result of a joint partnership between
BAMSI, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Agriculture, and represent the first and only certification programmes available not only in the Bahamas, but also the world.

The Tourism Minister commended BAMSI for its commitment to producing a first-class training programme saying it was a notable mark of success for the nation’s tourism industry. He acknowledged that it was the lack of consistent development in the agriculture sector over the past
50 years that precipitated the Government’s partnership with Growers Inc., and the launch of Innovate242 aimed at diversifying and strengthening the industry.

“Today is a reminder of the potential of BAMSI. While we celebrate this remarkable achievement in nature-based tourism, it is equally important
to express our concern that we have not made sufficient inroads in agriculture over the past 50 years. “I am told that if done well, one of these units will be able to provide all of the leafy greens needed to cover the entire population of residents and tourists in Exuma. I am excited about this possibility.

“It’s initiatives like this that emphasize the true potential of BAMSI,” he said. “[And] as we stand here in the heart of Andros, an island with abundant agricultural potential, it is a call to action for us to refocus our efforts on revitalizing the agriculture sector.”

The addition of the Innovate242 initiative to BAMSI’s portfolio is expected to bolster the college’s various degree programmes and give students access to cutting edge technology and a learning experience that is second to none.

Minister Cooper also used the opportunity to announce that the Ministry of Tourism is embarking on a new push in Sustainable Green Tourism
and how Andros, the largest island in the Bahamian archipelago, will benefit for this focus.

“Our studies indicate that 76 percent of our visitors are interested in Sustainable Tourism – exploring, enjoying, and studying the flora and
fauna, exploration and adventure in out creeks, blue holes and waterways, snorkeling, farm-to-the-table, catch-n-release, flats fishing and game-fishing.”

Mr. Cooper said that Andros was well positioned to take advantage of the sustainable tourism niche. With its natural allure and proximity to
Nassau, the tourism community must engage and be at the front end of this new push that will bring millions of dollars to the local economy. “It is interesting when I travel to international conferences like UNWTO in faraway places and they talk about Sustainable Tourism as a new fad.
We have been doing eco-tourism for 50 years, we have been leaders, and we will assert our leadership again.”

The Blue Hole Bulletin

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