The chain of islands known as the Bahamas, officially called the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, consists of 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean. The Bahamian economy is heavily dependent on the tourism and financial services sectors. Agriculture and fisheries sectors account for 5% of both GDP and employment. Despite this, the importance of these sectors to the socioeconomic well-being of the country cannot be ignored.
An estimated 80% ($250 million worth) of the Bahamian food supply continues to be imported. Expansion of the agriculture and fisheries sectors in sustainable, cost effective ways can only assist in the diversification of the local economy and reduce its dependency on imports.
Agricultural production in the Bahamas focuses on four main areas: crops, poultry, livestock and dairy, with most agriculture products consumed domestically.
The Bahamas exports lobster and some fish but does not raise these items commercially.
Action Plan for Agriculture
The government aims to:
With regard to land use, agriculture is carried out on small plots throughout the most of the islands with about 1% of the land area cultivated. The government has taken steps to expand and improve agriculture in reserving 182,000 hectares (452,000 acres) exclusively for farming, of which 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) is for fruit farming.
Most of the land earmarked for low-cost agricultural leases are found on Andros, Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Agriculture is done on a small scale, producing mainly for domestic consumption. The most lucrative export is grapefruit, generating US$459,000 in 2010.