By Chester Robards
NASSAU, Bahamas — Lenders in the micro, small and medium-sized business space are ready to fund businesses in the hemp and marijuana industries, as long as nothing pertaining to the businesses are on a “do not fund” list.
Executive director of the Access Accelerator/Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) Davinia Grant, who was a speaker during an Abaco Business Outlook webinar yesterday, said the process of determining what those industries could mean to the economy has already started. She added that when the government opens the economy up to development in those sectors, the SBDC will be prepared to fund viable businesses in that space.
“Once the government opens up, we are ready,” said Grant. “It’s just another business. We started a process with some stakeholders here in New Providence, before COVID-19 came, where we explored the possible economic impact of that industry. And so, once it opens up from the government side, we’re here to support all entrepreneurs, as long as it’s not on a do not fund list.
“So, hemp will not be excluded from our assistance.” Minister of agriculture and marine resources Michael Pintard said last week that he is pushing for the Cabinet to allow the production of hemp and cannabidiol (CDB) products in The Bahamas, as the country awaits a decision on whether or not marijuana will be decriminalized or legalized.
Pintard said, though, that he could not comment on the possible cultivation of marijuana, as it is in the purview of The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana in the office of the prime minister.
Unit head for strategic development and Initiatives at The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) Sumayyah Cargill said the now illegal plants would become just another crop if legalized by the government.
“It’s another type of agricultural product or project, and so BDB would absolutely be prepared to fund it,” Cargill said.
She added that agriculture is a tiny portfolio for the BDB at the moment, but explained that the bank has developed a desk that will focus on the development of that sector.
“The ag-desk is going to help us de-risk in that sector and tailor-fit to the needs of farmers and fishers who need funding in that sector,” said Cargill.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian