Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bahamian-grown sauces, seasonings, jams and jelly… sounds delicious!

F2F volunteer, Donna Bromfield (in the pink shirt), visits the
Sukkot Farm in Exuma
An abundance of agricultural produce can be found in the Bahamas, the majority of which goes to waste, as imported products continue to dominate the supermarket shelves. Therefore, the Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation (BAIC) identifies food processing as an area for development and a key for producers to sell locally and export internationally. The Bahamas also receives over 1.5 million tourists annually, which provides an ideal market to sell bottles of local jams, jelly, or sauces from small processors. However, there is currently no formal local or export protocol for these goods.

Ms. Bromfield accompanies BAIC staff to visit the Garden
of Eden Farm
From June 15-28, 2014, food processing and food safety expert Donna Bromfield was the first Partners of the Americas’ Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer to travel to the Bahamas in 2014 on a flex assignment. During her assignment, Ms. Bromfield collaborated with BAIC to train 7 women in the preparation of mango products from local fruits. She also trained 17 men and women in good agricultural practices and raised local awareness on the benefits of gaining GAP certification. Ms. Bromfield also conducted four farm visits to identify gaps and barriers to implementing food safety systems in the communities and one site visit to a local food processor in order to assess the capacity of the processor to develop diversified fruit products.

Fresh limes on Clarke's Family Farm
The goal of BAIC is to further support “Bahamian grown foods” and empower Bahamians by providing technical assistance in food preservation, post-harvest techniques, and compliance to food standards/regulations. In turn, this can help facilitate the export of “Bahamian-made” agricultural food products that are safe, of high quality, and follow the model of “from the farm to the fork”. Partners of the Americas’ Farmer-to-Farmer program hopes to continue to support BAIC in their efforts to improve the food security of the islands. We can’t wait to taste the coco plum jam!

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