Full Report: Bermuda’s Agricultural Crisis

November 18, 2010

Both the island’s agricultural sector and its arable land reserves are in a state of crisis and risk becoming obsolete unless urgent remedial action is taken, according to the findings of a newly released report.

Entitled “The Role of Agriculture in Bermuda’s Future” and researched and prepared by Bermudian Aran McKittrick, the report seeks to summarise historic and modern challenges facing the agricultural industry and Bermuda’s dwindling stock of arable land. The island has lost an estimated 87% of its agricultural land in the last eighty five years

The Environmental Coalition, which provided impetus and research support for the project, has applauded the release of Mr. McKittrick’s Report as Bermuda’s agricultural future is a topic requiring urgent attention.

Key findings include:

  • The agricultural industry and agricultural land are in a critical state and fast disappearing.
  • The challenges the potential collapse of the agricultural industry and the loss of agricultural land pose to Bermuda are significant.
  • While a clear majority of Bermudians still value the importance of agriculture, Bermudians’ diminishing appreciation for the agricultural sector has caused it to become undervalued and neglected over time
  • The financial benefits derived from the development of land in Bermuda continue to place significant pressure on agricultural land for other uses
  • Bermudians place little to no value on the bona fide issue of “food security”

Based on these findings, the report offers a number of key recommendations, among them:

  • Conduct an up-dated detailed review of current use and availability of arable land.
  • Implement an environmental economic evaluation of agricultural land.
  • Implement incentives to encourage farmers to continue to cultivate readily available land.
  • Amend Planning policy and legislation to prevent development on any remaining agricultural land.
  • Create community incentives to encourage community sponsored agriculture and parish farms.

The findings of the report have been shared with the relevant Government departments and Ministries, as well as the major stakeholder groups involved in the industry, and town hall-type meetings are also planned.

“It is hoped that through discussion and debate the Report will serve as a catalyst for change before it is simply too late and agriculture as we know it disappears completely,” said an Environmental Coalition spokesman.

The Environmental Coalition is a grouping of environmentally-minded individuals and organisations who meet bi-monthly, primarily in an information-sharing forum for environmental and related issues.

Aran McKittrick is a Bermudian research scientist who has been an active member of the environmental community from a young age. He has been an active member of a number of eco-groups including Greenrock, Save Open Spaces, BEST and most recently Transition Bermuda which he helped to found and presently chairs.

The full 42-page report is below, click ‘Fullscreen’ for greater clarity:

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Category: All, Environment, News

Comments (3)

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  1. Sara says:

    Yes because it is so important to build more fractional units, condos, and houses so they can all sit empty with the rest of the empty thousands Meanwhile we keep shipping in more food at higher costs and less nutritional value because its been sitting in a warehouse for weeks. Good job everyone. Way to take care of your people. Advice to all, if you grow your own vegetables and herb it is MUCH MUCH cheaper than buying them at the grocery store and you will feel so empowered.