The Bahamas imports 97% of its food or roughly $1 billion dollars from other countries. BDC plans to penetrate 7-10% of this market over the next 5 years, giving Islanders the ability to consume fresh locally grown produce. BDC recognized this as an opportunity to bring more economic opportunity, provide jobs, and help keep the Bahamian dollar within the country.
We plan to create an indoor state-of-the-art aquaponics farm in Freeport. This venture is in line with the vision of Prime Minister Christie to produce more food domestically.
P.M. Christie and the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) have created the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI). This is an accredited school that teaches the science of aquaponics and fish husbandry to students and locals located on Andros Island.
BAMSI currently grows food on a small commercial level for the local grocery stores and restaurants. However, they have a very small market share and are unable to make a significant dent on food imports.
BDC will have the only commercial-scale aquaponics farm on the main island of the Grand Bahamas. We have identified target locations on the main island.
The farm will grow mainly leafy green produce such as spinach, kale, lettuce, and a variety of spices. The aquaponics farm will also have the capability of producing strawberries, tomatoes, and other fruiting vine plants.
The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) owns and controls underground fresh water springs high in alkaline content. The water is so clean that it only requires simple filtration. Reverse osmosis is not necessary.
The GBPA is willing to sell spring water to BDC, thus giving us the only nationally recognized bottled spring water that has the backing of the Port Authority and the Bahamian government.
Even though there are two other bottle water companies on the island which only deals with the local market on Freeport, neither is a dominant brand, and there is no “official” water of the Bahamas.
Most of the restaurants and hotels use Nestle, Aquafina, and other waters instead of Bahamian water. Why? The local water companies are not using spring water.
BDC desires to create a water company that identifies with the people of Bahamas. We want to produce the first official water of Bahamas and do for bottled water what Kalik Beer — the official beer of the Bahamas — has done for beer. Locals support the Kalik brand heavily and tourists routinely request it. Even though Budweiser, Corona, and other popular beers are available, tourists want to experience the best of Bahamas. Kalik is a great beer and its taste quality rivals that of other beers.
BDC wants to follow the same recipe of success with locally bottled water. We believe that we can produce superior bottled water with the natural spring waters of the Bahamas, which is naturally fortified with minerals. With great name recognition and national support, this water can be become an export product, just like Fiji Water.
What are the benefits of alkaline water? Drinking alkaline water (pH between 8 and 9) can have many health benefits. Many beverages are acidic in which cause the blood to be acidic. Acidity of the blood can cause chronic inflammation of the joints, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and also cancer thrives in an acidic environment. Regular bottled water has an average pH of 6.7, which is slightly acidic. Alkaline water is healthier for the body and can reverse the previously listed ailments. Also studies have shown that routinely drinking alkaline water can reduce the fat around the belly area. Cancer cannot thrive in alkaline environments. Therefore, alkaline water is great for overall health and well-being. The Bahamian spring water is alkaline naturally and is fortified with trace minerals. There are very few bottled water companies that offer naturally alkaline water. BDC plans to be the premier bottled water company on the Island.
The Bahamas imports over $250 million dollars’ worth of souvenirs per year. Tourists buy these souvenirs with enthusiasm believing they are getting authentic Bahamian crafts. Unfortunately, 95% of the souvenirs are from China.
BDC plans to set up a souvenir factory that locally produces cups, graphic t-shirts, hats, and other souvenirs. BDC will maintain an inventory that simultaneously lowers the costs for local consumer-facing retailers, and makes the company competitive and highly profitable.
With its local partner BDC will establish a warehouse on the main street for consumer-facing vendors to purchase goods right near the port where they set up shop daily. We want to provide vendors with products that are locally made. The government wants these initiatives performed however; capitalization has been an issue to local entrepreneurs. BDC sees this as a great opportunity to provide local jobs and have a light-manufacturing company established rather quickly.
BDC will begin with importation of souvenirs while simultaneously sourcing and purchasing equipment for the fabrication of souvenirs. One of the products BDC wants to fabricate is printed t-shirts. There are no t-shirt printers on the island of Grand Bahamas. BDC identified this as a major opportunity not only in t-shirt manufacturing, but also later to develop lines of other souvenirs such as plastic cups, hats, key chains and other items. Creating a souvenir factory will increase local job potential and increase GDP.
BDC sees an opportunity to assist local souvenir sellers at all levels, by improving pricing and time-to-market for the souvenir items it manufactures. BDC aims to provide a wider variety of products at a competitive price. Once the factory is operational, BDC’s wholesale inventory will come directly from the factory without any middlemen. This will also reduce lead-time tremendously.
MORE than $250 million worth of souvenirs and gift items are imported into the Bahamas each year, income the Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation (BAIC) is determined to keep in the local economy.
Speaking with Tribune Business at the opening of the 15th annual Bahama Arts Festival on Arawak Cay, BAIC chairman Arnold Forbes said these items came from countries such as China, Vietnam and Korea.
“It’s significant, because the money that we make from the tourists on these items, we are sending it right back out,” Mr Forbes said.
“We are washing in and washing out. It’s important that we keep that money circulating in our economy so that we can invest in not only developing our handicraft market, but also other things.
“When you look at $250 million, that’s a whole lot of money being spent to bring goods into the country. If we were to decrease that by $10 million per year it would be significant.
“If we decreased that by $10 million per year over the next 10 years, that’s $100 million that we can keep in our economy; to make our economy better and to support our programmes,” said Mr Forbes.
The BAIC chairman added: “A lot of people don’t realise how much money we spend outside of the Bahamas. Statistics have shown that the Bahamas ranks near the top as one of the biggest contributors in the world to the South Florida economy. We spend billions of dollars in South Florida; we spend over $1 billion in south Florida every year.
“They’re not going to teach us how to feed ourselves and make ourselves better; we have to teach ourselves and to make ourselves better. We have to do it ourselves so that we can keep some of that hard currency in our country.”