Bahamas government joint agency committee heads to Acklins

Pictured from left to right (back row) are: Danielle Hanek, Department of Forestry, Shacara Lightbourne, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Christopher Russell, Director, Department of Forestry, Garnell Pelecanos, Bahamas Development Bank, Kirk Cunningham, Department of Forestry, Garry Russell, Bahamas Agriculture & Industrial Corporation (BAIC), Quintin Percentie, Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, (front row) Dr. Michelle Singh, Caribbean Agriculture Research & Development Institute (CARDI), Taneko Adams, Bahamas Agriculture & Industrial Corporation (BAIC) and Delreese Grant, Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation (BAIC), Department of Forestry, Department of Cooperatives, Bahamas Agriculture & Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), The Bahamas Environment Science & Technology (BEST) Commission, Inter- American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute (CARDI) and other strategic partners, and in continuation of fulfilling its mandate to expand the Bahamian economy, The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) again travels to Acklins and Crooked Island to accompany its partners as the industrialization of Cascarilla project progresses.

During the visit, technical experts from the Department of Forestry, BAMSI and CARDI will conduct the preliminary assessment of the Cascarilla resource on Acklins, Crooked Island and Samana Cay (a virtually uninhabited cay). This component of the project seeks to determine, via scientific means, the total stock of Cascarilla on each of the islands. Additionally, the experts will also study the agronomy of the plant as well as retrieve soil and plant samples to be laboratory tested upon return to the capital.

Another team lead by IICA will conduct surveys of harvesters on Acklins and Crooked Island to gather information on critical practices impacting the Cascarilla plant. The final two (2) days of the week-long mission will see residents and interested persons participate in town hall meetings, the first of which will be held on Crooked Island on Thursday May 23rd at the E. Thompson Community Center. The following day, Friday May 24th, 2019, Acklins will have its meeting at the Spring Point Community Center.

The cascarilla plant is used in the production of Campari and as an essential oil, it can be used in medicines and perfumes among other commodities. Presently, the Bahamas is exporting only the cascarilla bark to the United Kingdom, Italy, France, The United States of America and Germany.

This co-funded (Government of The Bahamas and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)) project seeks to facilitate on-island value added production. The key program objectives are to increase export, foster the sustainability of the cascarilla through organized propagation of the plant, facilitate at least two (2) commercially viable cascarilla oil processing facilities, enable the creation of five (5) new ancillary businesses, support expansion of Family Island economies and aid in the creation of many jobs.