The Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, in conjunction with the Agriculture Development Organization (AD0) has launched a new platform for recognizing outstanding farmers in the field of agriculture.
Under the theme, “Our Food, Our Future,” the Ministry will honour and reward farmers this coming September during the first-ever, ‘Agrarian Awards.’ Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, the Hon. Clay Sweeting, made the announcement at Jones Communications Complex on Monday, 26th June 2023. He said that the awards ceremony is being held to “celebrate the hard work and dedication of farmers, who play a vital role in sustaining the country’s economy and providing food in the country.”
“As many of us know, agriculture is a challenging and demanding industry,” said Mr. Sweeting. “It requires long hours, hard work and a deep understanding of the land and its resources. and has not been easy for our farmers. They face challenges such as hurricanes and limited arable land. But despite these challenges, our farmers have persevered, producing crops and livestock that not only feed our nation, but also contribute to our exports and economy.”
The Minister said that the Agrarian awards will be a vehicle used to honor these farmers for their contributions and will include a cross-section of farmers in the country.
“These awards celebrate farmers, schools, communities and backyard farmers who have remained resilient, innovative and committed to their craft. And as this is the 50th Independence anniversary of our country, the Ministry in conjunction with ADO (Agriculture Development Organization), will host these awards through a competition to win cash and other prizes.”
The public will be able to view the criteria for nominees and enter submissions through a nomination process available on the ADO’s website at: www.adbobahamas.org.
There will be several categories for the awards including: Male Farmer of the Year – $10,000; Female Farmer of the Year – $10,000; Youth Male Farmer of the Year – $5,000 (plus a full scholarship to BAMSI); Youth Female Farmer of the Year – $5,000 (plus a full scholarship to BAMSI); School Farm of the Year (supplies award); and Community Farm of the Year (supplies award). The Minister also said that schools and community farms can apply and receive prizes such as gift certificates towards their farms.
As the nominations occur, submissions will be evaluated by the Department of Agriculture to ensure the criteria standards are met. They will then be passed on to a blue-ribbon panel with farming experts, who will determine the finalists and the overall winners.
The award for the ‘Backyard Farmer of the Year’ will be determined via a ‘People’s choice’ competition where followers of the Ministry’s social media channel will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite backyard farmer. Veteran pineapple farmer, Dianne Thompson, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to pineapple farming in the country. The Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner is selected and not chosen by public nomination.
Deadline for all submissions is July 31.
The awards ceremony is scheduled to be held as a ‘green carpet’ event at Margaritaville Resort on Saturday, September 16.
“I encourage you to nominate yourself or someone you know for the Agrarian awards,” said Mr. Sweeting. “Help us to celebrate excellence, innovation and progress in agriculture and pave the way forward for future generations. This year, we will continue to support our farmers and fishers with concessions, new initiatives and sector development grant funding. In the near future, we will make an announcement for another event that will recognize Bahamian fishers, who also play a critical role in our country’s food security.
Sponsors for the event include: The Agriculture Development Organization, AFS Insurance, ALIV, Super Value, BAMSI, Bahamas Waste, Island Site Development Ltd., Jones Communications, The Guardian Group of Companies, New Providence Development Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, The MOVI group and other private donors.