Farming is the term used to describe the practice of agriculture, the activity or business of growing crops and raising livestock. Farming can be either subsistent or commercial. Subsistence farming is the type of farming in which most of the produce reared is consumed by the farmer only. Subsistence farming is a way of life devoted for the provision of food for one’s home or community. Some crops grown on subsistence farms are yams, corn, sweet potatoes, watermelons, bananas, okras and much more. On the other hand, Commercial farming is where the farmer grows crops solely for the purpose of sale with a large demand. According to Neil E. Sealey, Commercial farming is essentially the farming of a product for sale, and food is not always the thing produced: it may be a fiber such as cotton, or an animal product like wool. Commercial farms are also known as plantations. An example of this kind of farm is the large citrus farms of Abaco.
Agriculture in the Bahamas
Agricultural production in the Bahamas focuses on four main areas: crops, poultry, livestock, and dairy.Poultry, winter vegetables, and citrus fruits are the mainstay of the agricultural sector, which is concentrated in The Abacos. Exports consist mainly of grapefruits, limes, okra, papaya, pineapples, and avocado. These foods tend to grow quite well here (particularly the pineapples of Eleuthera which are fabulous!). Bananas, oranges, mangoes are also popular fruits. More than 5,000 acres of agricultural land in the Bahamas are used for citrus production. In 1993, about 14 million pounds of poultry meat was produced, valued at $15.3 million; egg production was estimated at 4.15 million dozen eggs, valued at $4.85 million; and agricultural exports were an estimated 18,794 tons. In addition to citrus fruits, exports included honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon and squash. Supposedly, to 'encourage' local agriculture (i.e. force consumers to buy local products against their will) heavy duties are laid on many imported goods that compete with inefficient, low quality, over-priced local products, or cheaper foreign goods are banned. The Agricultural Manufactories Act of 1965 provides exemptions from customs duty on all machinery and material imported for the construction and improvement of agricultural factories. Tax-exemptions (as long as there are no strings attached) are a good thing and should be done for all business machinery, in all industries—not just politically popular ones.
Ninety percent of the agricultural land in The Bahamas is government-owned and falls under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries. The government has instituted a policy to utilize these lands to aid in the growth of the economy and foster less dependence on the tourism sector. The Ministry of Agriculture (Incorporation) Act of 1993 gives the Minister of Agriculture authority to hold, lease, and dispose of agricultural land, to enter into contracts, and to sue and be sued. The Minister does not have the power to sell agricultural land, but is authorized to lease land for periods up to two consecutive 21-year periods. Under this policy, the government has earmarked 36,148 prime acres of Crown Land for agricultural use, which is allocated as follows: 13,869 acres in Andros 11,737 acres in The Abacos 10,542 acres in Grand Bahama Island. The Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers to expand sweet potatoes, bananas, onion, Irish potatoes, and pigeon peas acreage through taking money from taxpayers and "subsidizing" these businesses (rather then let taxpayers spend the money on their own businesses) via cheap loans, etc. The stated goal of livestock is to make each island self-sufficient in poultry and pork production. However, this drive for 'self-sufficiency' is not without its price—it results in more expensive products (since it costs more to grow locally then to import such products) and leads to an...