Local Farmers ‘Dismayed’ About Govt’s Plans

March 16, 2022 | 28 Comments

“Large-scale vertical farming will not revitalize growth, the economy or labour on the island because the set-up and operating costs of vertical farms for leafy greens are prohibitive in Bermuda,” the Bermuda Farmer’s Association [BFA] said.

The BFA asserted that they were not fully consulted before the Government announced that funds have been earmarked “to support the development of a vertical farm project,” and said they are “dismayed to see Government’s insistence on moving forward.”

BFA text March 2022 bermuda farmers

“As stated in the articles, Minister Hayward laid out a recovery plan as part of Government’s four lead initiatives to ‘kick start growth, the economy and labour,” a statement from the organisation said.

“One of those plans Minister Hayward said, was ongoing work to make vertical farming a reality. He said, ‘The vertical farming facility is being acted upon, with a potential location for a large-scale vertical farming facility under review and financial details in development.’ He said the vertical farm project was to ‘facilitate food security, lower food costs, develop farm crops and create jobs in a new, evolved area of the agricultural industry.’

“The BFA has already engaged with the Government on the subject of vertical farming and specifically on solving the problem of the leafy greens shortfall in Bermuda in September 2021.

“This was in response to then Minister Wayne Furbert’s vertical farm business concept. At that time the BFA, of whom many members already grow crops in alternative, evolved agricultural methods, discussed with the Minister the specific reasons why large-scale vertical farming for leafy greens will not work in Bermuda.

“The Government’s purpose at that time was to reduce the imports of leafy greens by 35%. As no specific data could be provided to the BFA by Government at that time, the BFA undertook a detailed survey of all consumption, local production, and importation of leafy greens to identify the exact produce area shortfalls. With the new data, the BFA laid out a solution to the Minster of Home Affairs to address the problem.

“The BFA contends that the objective of the vertical farm concept is to reduce the cost of production including labour. Large-scale vertical farming will not revitalize growth, the economy or labour on the island because the set-up and operating costs of vertical farms for leafy greens are prohibitive in Bermuda.

“At 44 cents a kilowatt hour, 300% higher than average US energy costs, the energy required for 18 hours a day of lighting and 24 hours a day of HVAC, at 365 days a year, makes the costs of vertical farm production for leafy greens prohibitive.

“The BFA was of the understanding that they were engaged with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Estates to implement their solution and is dismayed to see Government’s insistence on moving forward on a failed initiative via the Ministry of Economy and Labour.”

Bernews asked the Government for a response yesterday and we will update as able.

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Comments (28)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    SO, where does this leave the PLP? What are the other two pillars of the economic recovery plan??

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “What are the other two pillars of the economic recovery plan?”

      Tourism and International Business. Same as for most of the last 50 years or so

      • Question says:

        I thought it was satellites and deepsea farming.
        Or is it satellites and bitcoin mining?
        Or satellites and marijuana?
        Or satellites and gambling?
        Never quite clear is it. They have endless ‘ideas’ that always cost us a lot of money but go nowhere.

    • saud says:

      LOL…. Bermuda doesn’t have an economy, you have an invoice that need to be paid to a foreign entity…for those of you who didn’t go to Warwick Academy, that means the money is leaving Bermuda, never to return.

      • And that’s what will happen with gaming says:

        All proceeds from gaming will leave our island. We should have used them bies from Bermuda so it stayed in Bermuda! PLP at work again!

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          What proceeds from gaming? What bank will accept those proceeds?

      • jon says:

        are you implying those who didnt go to Warwick Academy are to stupid

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    “The BFA asserted that they were not fully consulted before the Government announced that funds have been earmarked “to support the development of a vertical farm project,” and said they are “dismayed to see Government’s insistence on moving forward.””

    Face facts. The PLP Government is intent on trying to spend its way out of this current financial crises with money we do not have.

  3. smh says:

    How are these farmers so sure it wont work? Have they seen a business plan or are they just upset because they have failed to innovate and be as efficient as possible over the years

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      How are the experts sure it won’t work? Really?

    • The Night Watch says:

      You really think any govt would be on the forefront of innovation when it comes to anything?

  4. Me says:

    When are the weed farms happening?

  5. Ohh says:

    PLP always intended on growing ganja inside as another F&F project

  6. This administration under David Burt as Premier of Bermuda is not making decisions in the best interest of the wider community and it’s getting very concerning. They don’t have a real plan for economic growth or recovery, neither do they have a sustainable plan for local businesses.

    • Sandgrownan says:

      From the moment Bermuda elected the great educator, the PLP have shown themselves to be racist, homophobic, unavoidable table, incompetent, and fundamentally witless.

      They have no idea, no plan, no clue. They could not run a piss up in a brewery. They are failures, and Bermuda’s downward spiral is on them and very muppet that bought into the racial boogey man bullshit they peddle on a constant basis.

      20+ years. There’s no one left the blame.

  7. sirjohnsyacoola says:

    between this and the fish thingy in st davids that will allow the Chinese to clean out our crop, this govt are just geniuses.
    trying to find the corner in a round room.

  8. watcing says:

    are the farmers and fishermen more concerned over these plans eating into their profits, or do they legitimately feel they are bad ideas?

    • Guy Carri says:

      Leafy greens grown in vertical farming are NOT the greens the farmers focus on. A little bit of overlap in the cooler months. Overall there’s a limited amount that you can successfully grow vertically and there’s only one farmer looking to grow it year-round. Bda is too hot and the electricity to cool the crop (swamp fans or a/c) is going to cost quite a few heads of lettuce!

      I’ve done my research long before the gov showed up to the party.

      Private money hasn’t invested for a reason.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      My guess is that if it was feasible and a money maker they would have been doing it themselves a long time ago.

      At least one farmer has been growing tomatoes and cucumbers in large plastic covered greenhouses for a long time but has never progressed to vertical farming.
      Wonder why ?

    • Double S says:

      Do you even understand their complaints? Or are you a simple minded PLP sycophant that believes they can do no wrong?

      No need to answer. Rhetorical question.

  9. Guy Carri says:

    Forget if it will or won’t work. How will this lead us to economic recovery? How is this a new pillar? If traditional farming isn’t a pillar, why is this? You think an overpriced $3.5M structure is enough to spend us out of this mess? You think it’s going to employ THAT many people?! You think extra lettuce is food security?!!!!!

    Evidence of it not working:
    Bermy Fresh does micro greens. Why do you think they don’t do leafy greens? Why do you think they’ve expanding on other products and not micro-greens?

  10. Observer says:

    What the farmers are concerned about I’m sure is the fact that initial subsidies have been offered to the developer, like rent, electricity, building materials, taxes and the like, which might just might help the project get off the ground, but won’t sustain any long term viability. The numbers from a standalone entity cannot compete with the local farmers and or indeed from any imports currently in place. Look under the hood Bermuda, you’ll see a few missing parts.

  11. charter says:

    the gov wants to revitalise the economy by putting the farmers out of business and operating a large vertical farm at a loss?
    maybe so they can get a cut?
    or develop the farm land?
    otherwise this just seems numbnuts

  12. Proven says:

    They have unlimited money to lose. They are also the shareholders. Lay down everybody! 30-6.

  13. Kitchen sink says:

    Watch this hand while the other works you like a puppet!!
    Blanks at the helm!!

  14. Kim Smith says:

    ‘He said the vertical farm project was to ‘facilitate food security, lower food costs, develop farm crops and create jobs in a new, evolved area of the agricultural industry.’

    So, is the Government plan for achieving those very important goals listed in the quote or for producing leafy greens?

  15. Observer says:

    Wake up guys. It must be that someone in the loop is earmarked for a windfall from tax-payers’ money. More than likely someone who has no farming experience but is in the right circle.

    Could use the gaming system to bet on who the lucky Vertical Farming Mogul is going to be.

  16. Vertical Farm says:

    There is no need to be using LED lights in vertical farming.
    setting up the roof on top of the hotels for growing veggies, using netting or glass instead of walls that block the lights depending on location, can use the sun for growing most veggies.
    You really should be using Singapore as role model for food production, and actively cooperate with them, Many things in common.

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