FAO in Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize

Four islands of the Bahamas receive FAO assistance to develop an Integrated Agro-ecological Production System in Small Ruminant Livestock

Field Demonstration

The islands of New Providence, North Andros, Eleuthera, and Long Island engaged in 10 days of technical assistance provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on the assessment of the small ruminant (sheep and goats) sector.

A team of six technical officers, led by  Jeri Kelly, FAO-Agricultural Officer, conducted surveys and field visits to small ruminant farms to assess land management practices, pasture/field crop biodiversity, herd characteristics, animal health and housing.

Sixteen stakeholders including farmers, agricultural officers, and farmers’ organization representatives also shared in a farmers’ workshop on New Providence Island. A group of small ruminant farmers were surveyed and through discussions, outlined community priorities and objectives to support a livestock training programme for small ruminants. During the workshop, participants also engaged in an agro-ecosystem field demonstration on practical tips in animal husbandry and silage making.

This workshop was followed by a technical workshop with fourteen (14) technical officers from various ministerial departments including: agriculture, animal health services, research and planning, agriculture education, and youth engagement. Additionally, representatives from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), and the University of The Bahamas were in attendance. The workshop aimed to identify the critical gaps in the current small ruminant breeding production system based on field assessments and to provide recommended actions to resolve these gaps using agro-ecological approaches for sustainable production and guidance on a livestock training programme. The Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Hon. Michael Pintard, showed his support for the work by attending the workshop and being a part of the discussions.

On the penultimate day, seventeen stakeholders participated in a curriculum and planning workshop to discuss and design a Livestock Farmer Field School (FFS) curriculum according to local contexts, needs and recommendations provided by local farmers. A plan for the implementation of the Livestock FFS, including the activities, tools, and techniques as well as a comprehensive timetable and reporting schedule were developed.

About this FAO Project

The 10 day mission in The Bahamas ran from July 21 – 31, 2019 and was carried out under the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme on Capacity Development of an Integrated Agro-ecological Production System in Small Ruminant Livestock in The Bahamas

The overall goal of the project is to mainstream the efficient use of human and natural resources, thus contributing to Sustainable Development Goals of Zero Hunger (2) and Quality Education (4) by building producers’ knowledge and developing capacities. The project addresses the need for sustainable intensification of agriculture through an innovative and integrated approach of resources use efficiency, particularly through developing institutional, organizational and managerial capacities. It is expected that the project will enable a collective community supported framework for better managing crop-livestock production systems and improving socio-economic relations between farmers, local and national stakeholders.