With challenges in the global supply chain, local food sovereignty and security has been at the fore of national conversation in The Bahamas. This month, members from Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) at The Island School visited with agricultural stakeholders, The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) and The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC).

The Island School team touring the BAMSI campus.

On Monday May 23rd our Research & Innovation leaders, Dr. Nick Higgs and Dorlan Curtis Jr., and members of our Agricultural team Bronwyn Esterhuizen and Mia Avril traveled to BAMSI in San Andros, Andros to discuss potential partnerships and synergies between the two institutes. While at BAMSI, the team toured their facility which comprises a 77 acre farm, and an academic institute which offers associate-level degrees in Agriculture, Agri-Business, Aquaculture, Marine Science and Environmental Science. While our organizations visited each other in 2019 to setup a tilapia hatchery, this trip sought to formalize a partnership between the two organizations to facilitate BAMSI students as research interns at CEI, exchange heirloom cultivars and planting material (guinea corn, sweet potato), research collaborations and data sharing on best practices in agriculture and marine science. Discussions were held with BAMSI staff Lennie McDonald, Dr. Raveenia Hanna, Dr. Vallierre Deleveaux and Said Ponda.

The team from The Island School meeting with chairman and board of BAIC.

The CEI Research team also met with Mr. Leroy Major, Mr. Troy Sampson, and the board of BAIC. In this inaugural meeting between both organizations, discussions were held to foster bilateral capacity building to support farmers and fishers in order to boost this industry and local production. BAIC particularly emphasized the impact of collaboration with CEI’s research areas of lobster aquaculture, aquaponics, climate change, regenerative agriculture, mycology and sustainability play to ensure self-sufficiency, food sovereignty and resilience as a nation. It was emphasized that the greatest threat to our agriculture and fisheries sector is climate change, and using The Island School as a model for marine conservation and sustainable development, in collaboration with BAIC, we can help to support systems that are adaptable and resilient. Overall, the key in collaboration is to meet UN SDGs particularly SDG Goal 2 [Zero Hunger], SDG 12 [Climate Action], SDG 15 [Life on Land] and SDG 17 [Partnerships for the Goals].