Farmers and animal breeders throughout the islands are busily preparing for the second Bahamas Agricultural, Marine Resources and Agribusiness Expo.

Hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources and the Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation (BAIC), the Expo’s theme is ‘Improving Food Security’.

The three-day national event will be held at New Providence’s Gladstone Road Agricultural Centre beginning February 26, 2009.

The Expo is in pursuit of the Ministry and BAIC’s mandate to promote food security in The Bahamas.

It will bring together vegetable, root crop, fruit and ornamental plant producers; food and drink manufacturers; livestock breeders and marine resource harvesters in friendly competition to heighten the public’s awareness of the wide variety and high quality of Bahamian-produced commodities.

The event will expose entrepreneurs, students and interested persons to innovative agricultural strategies, best practices and agricultural demonstrations, a release from the Ministry stated.

Greenhouse techniques, hydroponic systems, propagation and hybridization methods will be featured.

“The Ministry is committed to strengthening agribusiness in the Bahamas and to position this industry as a fundamental pillar of our economy,” stated the release.

“This thrust to promote agribusiness initiatives will attract foreign investors to partner with local entrepreneurs as well as encourage import substitutions.”

During the expo, there will be seminars and discussions to identify and proffer possible solutions to the challenges confronting food production and how The Bahamas can attain a greater degree of food security.

“In light of the food security issues around the world where food exporting countries have significantly reduced their exports or have exported at exorbitant prices,” stated the Ministry, “it is imperative that we begin to introspectively examine the issue of reasonable food security.

“The expo would prove to be an excellent orientation for new and mature farmers and other agribusiness persons concerned about product quality and standards.

“Additionally, as market access is a major concern of producers, it is expected that as a result of the exhibition, contacts will be made with buyers from the hospitality industry, wholesalers and retailers.”

The Ministry will take this opportunity to target potential young farmers, especially those in junior and senior high schools.

“Our partnership with the Ministry of Education will provide students and teachers involved in agricultural and home economic studies practical experience, cutting edge techniques, and strategies that will enhance their knowledge and stimulate and solidify their aspirations within the agricultural sector.

“The exposure of students to the various activities should begin the process of creating a sustainable and dynamic cadre of young people who will take up the mantle of food production and processing and other agribusiness endeavors for future generations of Bahamians.

“We are looking to attract hardworking and committed young persons who can function competitively in local industries while adhering to global health safety and quality standards.”

The Ministry strongly encourages everyone to take full advantage of what it calls an “informative and life transforming expo, that is expected to heighten our awareness, and force us to rethink, re-tool, and revisit our vision for our food security capabilities well into the future.”