+ CONNECTING FARMERS:
BAMSI’s Associated Farmers Programme (AFP) is connecting farmers across the archipelago of islands and sharing knowledge on the science of growing. The goal of this outreach and extension programme is to provide farmers and processors with the tools and resources they need to expand agricultural development throughout all of the Family Islands.
How the program works:
1) BAMSI identifies qualified individuals, farmers, investors, businesses, corporations and associations eager to adopt and apply modern methods in commercial agricultural production.
2) Identified individuals and parties receive accreditation from BAMSI as Associated Farmers.
3) Associated Farmers produce crops as part of a formal programme, following a continuous production pattern outlined by the Institute.
4) The Associated Farmers Programme is set to expand in 2017 to include a livestock component. BAMSI’s objective in this sector is to establish and maintain a nucleus of quality breeds of sheep and goats, and disseminate these animals to livestock farmers across the archipelago. BAMSI will serve as a model livestock farm and will provide technical assistance to livestock farmers and those interested in entering the industry. A critical component necessary if the sector is to be successful will be the establishment of forage banks for farmers. Additional animals, such as chickens and pigs, will be introduced at a later date.
5) Products produced by Associated Farmers are marketed and sold by BAMSI.
Associated Farmers benefit from BAMSI’s expertise and regional and international networks, receiving guidance in everything from soil testing and evaluation, to best practices in animal husbandry. Associated Farmers are also able to access continuing education opportunities offered by the Institute, including seminars, workshops and on-farm interventions to stay up-to-date and informed about industry best practices.
The Bahamas government has earmarked $500,000 in assistance to small farmers who are a part of BAMSI’s Associated Farmers Programme. The funding is accessed through a micro-loan initiative between The Bahamas Development Bank and BAMSI and is expected to go towards farm upgrades and agricultural improvements. Member farmers are able to apply for individual loans up to $10,000 with interest on the repayment set at prime plus two percent.
The Institute offers teaching and training to provide the professional and technical qualifications necessary for various branches of agriculture and marine resources and to provide strong academic training and extensive hands-on orientation in crop and livestock production, farm management, environment conservation, agri-business and management of marine resources.
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