43 persons of 240 applicants, approved for the Sustainable Food Grant – showing notable interest in the agricultural sector

Sustainable Food Grant Awarded to 43 Applicants – May 13, 2024 at the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources. Minister Jomo Campbell was onhand.

NASSAU, The Bahamas — Among 240 applicants for the government-sponsored Sustainable Food Grant, 43 persons were successful in meeting the criteria: the grant provides up to $40,000 in funding to both startup and existing businesses.  An award ceremony commemorating the applicants’ success was held, May 13, 2024 at the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources on East Bay Street.  In attendance was the Minister, Hon. Jomo Campbell.  He told the awardees that this type of initiative supports the government’s goal of reducing food imports 25 percent by 2025.

“It was just a few months ago when the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources and the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) continued to cement our partnership with the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) to launch our second round of the Sustainable Food Grant, meant to support and empower individuals and organizations that are keen to produce more food in our beautiful country,” he said. “This goal is particularly vital especially as the government is seeking to meet the goal to reduce our food imports by the end of the year 2025.”

He noted that he was encouraged to see the high interest in the grant.  “I am delighted the interest in this grant was so high and that the SBDC has reported that the programme was oversubscribed with interest coming from the Family Islands.  Additionally, we see Grand Bahama was the island that had the most applicants at 80 with New Providence coming in a close second with 78 applicants — the first time in history where another island has beaten out the capital!”  

He said the government continues with its commitment to invest in food production businesses in order to reduce the country’s reliance on food imports and create new economic opportunities for today, tomorrow and years to come.

Executive Director of SBDC, Samantha Rolle, said that the initiative empowers small and medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural and  fisheries sectors by fostering sustainable businesses that not only address food security concerns, but also create jobs— effectively generating income and alleviating poverty.

“Since we announced this programme in 2023, we have partnered with the BAIC for their third annual ‘Taste and Tell’ event, where we connected food processors throughout The Bahamas to  compete for an opportunity to receive business development resources.  Additionally, we will  provide marketing and promotional support to increase the reach of these small businesses.  Most notably, we have partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources to offer a Sustainable Food Grant, which provides up to $40,000 in funding to both startup and existing businesses.  With 240 grant applications, it’s evident that there is a strong desire to drive growth and innovation within these agricultural sectors,” said Ms. Rolle.

She said that the strong interest from throughout the country — especially Grand Bahama showcases the enthusiasm and determination of its local entrepreneurs. Furthermore, she said, with more than 40 percent of the applicants representing start-up businesses, it is ‘thrilling’ to witness a wave of fresh ideas that contribute to the vitality of these industries.

“This overwhelming response reaffirms our belief in the transformative power of small businesses as we strive for a more resilient and prosperous future for The Bahamas,” she said. 

“We are pleased to announce that 43 clients have been approved for funding, totaling an impressive sum of one million dollars. This milestone not only demonstrates the tangible support we are providing to budding entrepreneurs through this partnership, but also highlights the robust potential for growth and innovation within our agricultural and fisheries sectors.  As we  move forward, we remain committed to nurturing these ventures, empowering them to flourish  and make a meaningful impact on the economic landscape of The Bahamas.”   (BIS Photos/Mark Ford)