Keep your eyes peeled on Monday, October 22 – you might catch a glimpse of the high-level delegation from The Bahamas coming to campus to meet with CALS faculty and administration.
After stopping by the NC State Fair with Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler the day before, the delegation will meet with CALS administration and faculty Monday afternoon to discuss methods to increase agriculture and implement sustainable farming practices in The Bahamas.
“It’s an opportunity for The Bahamas to learn about our research, Extension and education initiatives related to smallholder farming, including our very successful Haiti Goat Project, and consider how they might apply these initiatives to encourage the next generation to consider agriculture as a career,” said Steve Lommel, Associate Dean and Director, NC Agricultural Research Service.
CALS faculty look forward to building on the existing international relationship in Conservation Planning to develop new research programs that span the two countries, Lommel said.
The Bahamas’ new prime minister, Nubert Minnis, and his government are concentrating heavily on diversification of the Bahamian economy – especially in the areas of sustainable energy, technology and agriculture. Currently, 86 percent of the Bahamian food supply is imported, and 99 percent of the energy is from fossil-fuels.
The Bahamian landscape looks a little different from North Carolina: Composed of 700 islands and cays, 30 of which are inhabited, The Bahamas has a population of 350,000, with more than two-thirds of that population living in the capital city of Nassau. The economy is primarily tourism-based, with more than 3 million visitors per year.
But top exports to the Bahamas include poultry and meat, dairy, pork and pork products, as well as fresh vegetables. Not only could our farmers benefit from increased trade with the Bahamas, said Director of Research Partnerships Deborah Thompson, but NC State and NC A&T University could help with sustainable farming practices and the development of new technologies.
The delegation coming to CALS includes the Bahamian Ambassador to the United States, the Honorable Sidney Collie; the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard; Astra Armbrister Rolle, Bahamas Consul General, Atlanta; Kwasi Thompson, the Minister of State for Grand Bahama; Edison Sumner, president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce; and Derek Newbold, senior manager of business development with the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
The delegation will arrive at CALS after meeting with officials from the NC Port Authority, the NC Department of Agriculture and a variety of scientists with NC State, NC Sea Grant and UNC-Wilmington, as well as Wake Tech Community College.
At CALS, the group will first learn about the NC Plant Sciences Initiative from Launch Director Stephen Briggs and the Food Animal Initiative from Animal Science Department Head Todd See and Prestage Department of Poultry Science Head Pat Curtis. They will then receive briefings from Agricultural and Resource Economics Undergraduate Coordinator and Distance Education Director John Russ; International Programs Director Jose Cisneros; Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Fellow and Applied Ecology professor Craig Layman; and Poultry Science’s William Neal Reynolds Professor Peter Ferket.
And it’s not all academics on their trip to the Triangle: After meeting with CALS faculty and administration, the delegation will spend the next day touring SAS and the Wake Tech RTP campus.