The program aims to re-invigorate small ruminant (sheep and goat) and pigs stocks in the Bahamas by offering a combination of training and financing to new and existing farmers, starting with Long Island. In addition to providing fresh meat to Bahamians, The SRRP program’s objectives for the next five years include improving foreign exchange through import substitution of small ruminants and pigs by 2.5%. It proposes to expand Family Island economies by 1% annually by establishing at 5 small ruminant and pig farming enterprises that support at least 10 new jobs on each island. It is anticipated that the program will offer youth on Family Islands an opportunity for employment in their own communities, in addition to generating employment, dispersing wealth via new businesses, and making a marginal step toward food security.
The program has four interconnected components that address the structural and market challenges faced by small ruminant farmers. The first, “Education and Training” provides interested persons with an overview of the industry, program design and business management. The introductory workshop was hosted by BDB, CARDI and the Department of Agriculture this week on Long Island. CARDI and Department of Agriculture certified trainers will provide ongoing technical training, support and supervision for the first five years of the program. The second component, i.e. “Establishing Program Participants and their Roles” ensures that that all areas of the value chain are supported through close collaboration between farmers, government inspectors, slaughterhouse/harvesting inspectors, truckers, shippers, and agriculture marketers and brokers. “Government Support”, the third component is vital for SRRP success. This role includes policy setting and strengthening institutions along with operational support. The Bahamas Development Bank provides the fourth component, “Access to Funding” through affordable loans once program candidates successfully complete the training and education program as well as the initial plan submission and borrowing evaluation. The funding is intended to enable those farmers and companies to secure resources and partnerships sufficient to start their businesses using the SRFP model.