The island’s farmers express that they feel to have been shut out of a planned vertical-farming industry — one of the Government’s central initiatives to revive the economy.

At a press conference, Jason Hayward, the Minister of Economy, confirmed that the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, a government quango, was in the process of going into partnership with Miami-based company Kalera to create an industry here — with no input from local farmers.

Mr. Hayward said: “The BEDC will partner with a firm to produce a company that will operate in Bermuda. The shareholders of that company will be both BEDC and the overseas firm.” The Bermuda Farmers Association had previously accused the Government of forging ahead with vertical-farming plans without consulting local growers.

Responding to that claim today, Mr. Hayward replied: “On this particular project there hasn't been a heavy level of farmer engagement, but it's not true to say that farmers have not been engaged on the project. Why I say that is because farmers would have been one of the first groups the BEDC met with to talk about the development of a co-operative that will do similar activities as the vertical farm.

"There was no update from the local farmers as it pertains to that particular initiative and so BEDC, along with a foreign partner, determined that this was a project that they wanted to involve them and as a result of that we will continue progressing the plans of having a large-scale vertical farm.“

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