Bahamas Development Bank to launch pilot poultry project

Bahamas Development Bank to launch pilot poultry project
Bahamas Development Bank

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas Development Bank is launching its Community Poultry Pilot Project on New Providence with a round of consultation with growers this week.

The project follows the successful introduction of the Small Ruminant Revitalization Program on Long Island, according to a press statement.

The Bank is offering capital loans for broiler grow houses along with short term lending for inputs for farmers interested in broiler production. Broiler producers in the capital will be supported by a Central Poultry Unit (CPU) as a Private Public Partnership venture that will house both a feed mill and a poultry processing line.

The statement read: “The CPU will purchase and resell bulk feed, day old chicks and equipment, cutting input costs significantly for farmers who are currently paying $4 for a single broiler chick in some instances.

“The production will focus on all natural, no antibiotics ever, and hormone free birds that will be provided fresh directly to Bahamian consumers. It is anticipated that the proposed price reductions, along with technical, processing and marketing support in combination with access to financing will reduce entry barriers to such an extent that broiler poultry production will become financially viable for smaller farmers.”

The statement continued: “Once established, the CPU, in coordination with BDB’s lending, will provide low cost inputs and technical support to Family Island farmers for fresh poultry production stimulating the emergence of a small scale broiler production industry where there is a local market. The program was developed in coordination with a team of consultants which includes Justin Taylor, and Dr Jason Sands, leading Bahamian experts in poultry production and animal nutrition respectively.”

The BDB noted its distributed model will be more resilient to adverse weather events such as hurricanes and disease that have previously decimated large scale producers..

Sumayyah Cargill, head of BDB’s Strategic Development Unit, touted the financial benefits of the poultry industry that will be shared across the archipelago as farmers will be provided the opportunity to meet the fresh poultry demands of their local communities.

BDB’s plans to facilitate or invest up to $2,000,000 directly with the aim of enhancing small farmers’ revenue streams, reducing imports and delivering fresh secure poultry to the Bahamian consumer.

BDB’s Managing Director Dave Smith noted while BDB has the ability to take equity position, it favors partnering with the Bahamas Joint Venture Capital Fund via a strategic alliance to provide blended financing to Small Medium Enterprises and encourage Bahamian participation in the economy as a necessary step post COVID-19.

The statement added: “BDB’s mandate under the Bahamas Development Bank Act, 1974 essentially obligates the bank to be a catalysis for economic development and encourage the participation in approved enterprises by citizens of The Bahamas.

“To this end, BDB intends to open the Community Poultry Project (CPP) to private capital investment. The focus on resiliency and growth for small scale agricultural producers and local food security is also a reflection of the Banks focus on the Sustainable Development Goals.”