Bahamas - Country Commercial Guide
Agricultural Sectors

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-09-16

Overview

The Bahamas imports nearly 90 percent of its food products, 80 percent of which come from the United States, Bahamians are familiar with and prefer American brands and franchises.  The USDA reported nearly $620 million in foodstuffs was imported by The Bahamas in 2019.  The USDA noted large hotels and resorts purchase about 40 percent of their food and beverage products through Bahamian importers, but the majority (60 percent) were purchasing goods directly from U.S. suppliers.  Other sources of consumer-oriented agricultural products are Brazil, Peru, UK, and Canada. 

To enhance food security, promote economic diversification, and ensure market access for local producers the Bahamian government recently announced foreign investors must purchase 40 percent of all food intended for operations from local farmers and fishers.  This policy is not yet supported by legislation, although several international companies have complied as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives.

U.S. exporters may also face increased regulatory controls on agricultural products imported into The Bahamas given the Bahamas Health and Food Safety Agency’s efforts to introduce new food sanitary and phytosanitary and safety standards.  The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality has also been mandated to create and implement quality control standards which may pose technical hurdles.  Nevertheless, commercial opportunities in these sectors are expected to remain steady or increase, particularly with the development of new high-end resorts.

Leading Sub-Sectors

In 2020, top U.S. food and agricultural exports to The Bahamas included: poultry meat and products (excluding eggs); beef and beef products; dairy products; snack food; prepared food; fruit and vegetable juices; pork and pork products; wine and beer; fresh vegetables; and non-alcoholic beverages. 

Opportunities

U.S. foodstuffs are sold in supermarkets, upscale stores, owner-operated outlets, fast food outlets, full-service restaurants, cafes/bars, etc.  The large hotel complexes, such as Atlantis and Baha Mar, also sell primarily U.S. agricultural products.  The Bahamas is also expected to begin investing in domestic agricultural production, creating opportunities to develop supply chains and introduce climate resistant agriculture technologies.   

Resources

  • Caribbean Basin Agricultural Trade Office (CBATO
  • Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources: www.bahamas.gov.bs
  • Bahamas Health and Food Safety Agency (BAHFSA)

Bahamas Bureau of Quality & Standards (BBSQ)