an old piece written to the Tribune in 2010.
I am writing this letter in response to an article published in the Tribune on April 14th 2010. BAIC, Lands, Agriculture, handicrafts, and works representatives visited a 3 mile swath being cut through south Andros. Said to be leading into a “new world for south Andros in food production” having “reached the island’s Thousands of acres of prime farm land” the featured photos show a backdrop of tractors in a field of exposed limestone as the visitors converse in the foreground. The challenges cited in the article mention a 70 foot hill on the edge of the pine land, the need for more work and Machinery and the request of additional funding. The article mentions the government’s “food security thrust”.
A thrust can be defined as “to force on an unwilling or improper recipient” or “an attack or assault”. The connotations of brevity, aggression and unsustainable action are also implied.
While I do not seek to belittle the Government’s efforts to encourage development in our family islands, or hinder the earning potential of the folks on that island I have a few simple questions and one burning desire. Where is this prime farm land or what types of crops grow best on this exposed limestone? In this visiting contingent, who represented the Ministry of The Environment? Have they done the appropriate geological surveys to determine distance to groundwater resources and linkages within the Blue holes before denuding this area? how many farmers are immediately ready to move onto this newly raped land? I have more questions but perhaps we can get a start to some answers on these. My one desire however is that Government and the people begin to move toward a sustainable future. I am tired of seeing areas of tall grass choking abandoned fruit trees in family islands where some farming initiative has gone under. It sickens me to see feral goats, donkeys and sheep run over in the street or leaving nothing but thorny bushes as they forage the surrounding coppice and consume all the edible plants. Most of all I am annoyed at Bahamian men and women crying poor mouth because they want a yard covered in driveways and Bermuda grass and prefer to drive to the food store for the fruits that their parents and grandparents grew in their backyards. The hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in cutting down habitat could have distributed fruit trees to the homes in South Andros. What food is more secure than the fruit tree growing within the walls of your own property?