Church farm project aims to help people feed themselves – Bahamas Tribune

Posted: November 7, 2020 at 9:04 pm

By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT

tsmith-cartwright@tribunemedia.net

SEVERAL religious denominations have come together in an historic initiative with the launch of the Church Commercial Farming Group designed to help Bahamians feed themselves.

In a statement sent to the media, the group said due to the pandemic, food security is vital.

Leaders of churches throughout The Bahamas of varying denominations and backgrounds have come together for a common cause to help Bahamians be able to feed themselves, the statement said. The church has taken on this mandate during the COVID-19 pandemic because now more than ever, national food security and self-sufficiency are paramount.

This historic initiative has brought together Christian leaders from major denominations including the Anglican, Baptist, Assemblies of God, Church of God of Prophecy, Church of God, the Brethren and numerous non-denominational churches.

Bishop Delton Fernander, president of the Bahamas Christian Council, said that the launch of the Church Commercial Farming Group is the first fruit of a holistic strategy crafted four years ago to implement plans for increased and expanded ownership for the people of The Bahamas. The bishop announced that three years ago, the Bahamas Christian Council established the capital investment fund.

The statement said that the Church Commercial Farming Group is the first project being funded by the Bahamas Christian Councils capital investment fund and that chairman of the Church Commercial Farmers Group, Reverend Patrick Paul, invited the Chairman of the Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation (BAIC) Bishop Gregory Collie, Executive Director of the Bahamas Agriculture & Marine Science Institute Dr Raveena Hanna and other stakeholders in agriculture and fisheries together with the pastors and leaders of participating churches to launch the initiative.

COVID-19 and all of its fallout, has provided a tremendous opportunity for food security in The Bahamas, Rev Paul said.

The Bahamas imports a little over a billion dollars of fruits, vegetables, diary, poultry and pork every year. In fact, one of the most important objectives in any nation, should be the ability to feed themselves. Hence, food security should be a notable discussion for all Bahamians, especially in a post COVID-19 world.

Rev Paul said the idea is to employ every member of the church who wishes to be employed, and secondly, to provide employment for civil society, with the concept of a socialisation programme culminating in national discipleship. He said this will also provide another level of equality in the country.

Rev Paul said this initiative will bring the churches front and centre on the mission to feed Bahamians. The Church Commercial Farming Group is the economic arm of the Christian Council, he said.

Bishop Laish Boyd, bishop of the Anglican Diocese, Bahamas & Turks & Caicos Islands, at the launch, spoke about a memorandum of understanding between various heads of denominations and the Bahamas Investment Group company. Those who signed the MOU committed themselves to engage in the ongoing national initiative to increase the productivity and self-sufficiency of The Bahamas agricultural production systems.

We have found that during this COVID-19 pandemic, it has driven home the importance of growing our own food, said Bishop Boyd. Just imagine if we were not able to import the amount of food that we require, the kind of condition our people, our health...and the amount of starvation that will come about as a result. So it is important that we focus on expanding the agricultural sector to ensure that we grow the items that we need.

Churches which are committed to the project are encouraged to submit proposals to BAIC and make their goals a reality.

My corporation has thousands of acres of land in Abaco. All you have to do is come see me with a project and you have the land, said BAICs Bishop Collie.

We also have hundreds of acres in Eleuthera...certainly in Andros, Eleuthera and Abaco. All you need to do is bring me the proposal and we have the land that is available. BAIC has the responsibility of expanding the economy, improving employment opportunities and reducing the countrys import bill, and I pledge our full support - 110 per cent - to ensuring that this is a success.

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Church farm project aims to help people feed themselves - Bahamas Tribune

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