The Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources the Hon. Michael Pintard announced that the Government of the Bahamas has approved the grant of 105 acres of land to the Acklins Islanders Cooperative Society to be used to grow Cascarilla trees and to construct a processing plant for the extraction of essential cascarilla oil. One hundred acres of the land is in Hard Hill and another five acres is located in Spring Point, Acklins. This land acquisition is part of the component of the Pine Islands Project which is focused on “Sustainable Livelihoods” for Cascarilla bark cultivation and processing of Cascarilla oil in Acklins and Crooked Islands. This is one of six activities in the cultivation and processing of the Cascarilla bark in the “Development and Promotion of Sustainable harvesting of Cascarilla” The Pine Islands Project is funded through the Global Environment Facility of the United Nations along with the Government of the Bahamas and in-kind contributions from various agencies.
The project is a multi-agency effort between the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) as the Executing Agency, the Department of Forestry, the Department of Cooperatives, the BEST Commission, Bahamas Development Bank, The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute, the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection and the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute. On Wednesday, June 9, a mini-documentary on the development of the Cascarilla industry in the Bahamas was launched at the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources on East Bay Street
On hand for the unveiling of the Video Launch on sustainable harvesting of cascarilla were: Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources the Hon. Michael Pintard, Chairman of Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation Bishop Gregory Collie, Ms. Debbie Strachan, Sr. Deputy General Manager at BAIC, Dr. Michele Singh, Country Representative for CARDI, Mr. Solomon Gibson, Project Manager, Pine Islands Project from the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection, Mr. Christopher Russell, Director at the Department of Forestry and Lt. Commander Hart of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force. Chairman of BAIC Bishop Collie said the video on sustainable harvesting of Cascarilla demonstrates the proper harvesting of Cascarilla so that the industry can be sustained for generations to come. The Government aims to ensure that persons involved in the industry in Crooked Island and Acklins can achieve greater economic returns and an improved standard of living.