FREEPORT, BAHAMAS — Grand Bahama’s Farmer’s Market will receive four new vendor booths that are under construction as part of renovation work being carried out on the Ministry of Agriculture’s main building.
The booths, which will be “painted in bright Caribbean colors” will soon be opened and ready to be occupied by the Farmer’s Cooperative, the Apiary Cooperative and other creative Bahamian entrepreneurs, according to Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard.
On Thursday, Pintard viewed the new booths as he toured the upgrades to the facilities along with Minister of State for Grand Bahama Senator Kwasi Thompson and Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis.
“There is significant renovation work being carried out on the Ministry of Agriculture’s main building; Minister Pintard’s tour was to inspect the overall refurbishment and creation of additional space to facilitate the ministry’s initiatives,” according to a statement by the ministry.
“He noted that it is the government’s intention over the next several months to transform the Farmer’s Market, ensuring that it is authentically Bahamian in terms of agricultural produce and handicraft.”
Pintard commented: “We are pleased with the progress that has been made and we expect this project to be wrapped by the end of the year. This is one part of the overall revitalization of Grand Bahama.”
Thompson, meanwhile, said one of the main objectives of the new buildings will be to house entrepreneurs who are part of Grand Bahama’s youth apiary project, which was launched by the Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama over a year ago.
“We enrolled a number of young people in Grand Bahama, trained them, gave them the tools to start a business and partnered with the Bahamas Development Bank, which allowed them to start a cooperative,” Thompson said.
“It was a successful cooperative, but unfortunately Hurricane Dorian destroyed their place of operation, as well as destroyed their product, so they had to start again from scratch. We assisted them with some additional grant funding through the Office of the Prime Minister, as well as the Small Business Development Center.
“But we made a promise to them that we would find them a home, where they could fully operate, sell their wares and find a place where people could come and do business. And so, this will be a place they will call home.”
Thompson thanked the agriculture minister for providing a permanent home for the Apiary Cooperative and expressed gratitude for Pintard “expounding the need for Bahamians to learn to feed themselves and have food security”. He noted that with the Apiary Cooperative able to produce homegrown honey and honey products, the cooperative will complement the Ministry of Agriculture’s push for food security.
According to Lewis, the new project at the Farmer’s Market will be duplicated below the new Fishing Hole Road Causeway, allowing Grand Bahamians in the west to take advantage of all things Bahamian.