Opportunities in Tourism for Local Farmers

Photo: Garwin Davis Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, addresses the Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) College of Hospitality Services/Western Hospitality Institute Trade Show, held at the Cardiff Hotel and Spa, Runaway Bay, St. Ann, on November 16.

Story Highlights

  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says the tourism sector continues to offer opportunities to local farmers.
  • The Minister pointed out that visitors to Jamaica thoroughly enjoy the taste of the local produce, and everything should be done to ensure that Jamaican foods make up the majority of what is consumed inside the hotels.
  • Mr. Hutchinson argued that it is only when “we develop and maintain linkages” where every industry and every economic activity will allow “as many people as possible to prosper” that Jamaica will truly grow on a sustainable basis.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, says the tourism sector continues to offer opportunities to local farmers.

Speaking at the Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) College of Hospitality Services/Western Hospitality Institute Trade Show at the Cardiff Hotel and Spa, Runaway Bay, St. Ann, on November 16, Mr. Hutchinson said that a close examination of the country’s high food-import bill reveals that a large portion of what is imported “is destined for the tourism sector”.

“Based on a 2015 Demand Study, it is estimated that the annual value of demand for agricultural products by the tourism sector is approximately $19 billion,” the Minister noted.

“More than 75 per cent of this value is for food items in the poultry, meat, seafood and fruit categories, of which locally sourced agricultural produce accounted for only $14.5 billion,” he added.

The Minister pointed out that visitors to Jamaica thoroughly enjoy the taste of the local produce, and everything should be done to ensure that Jamaican foods make up the majority of what is consumed inside the hotels.

“Visitors to our shores do love to eat and to consume a lot of our food. These food types range from beverages and snacks to fine dining. It is for that reason we believe Jamaican produce and our renowned cuisine must be a part of the menu provided in our hotels and resorts,” he said.

“I believe as a country we need to truly maximise the benefits of our large tourism sector in terms of creating the linkages to the other economic sectors, such as agriculture,” he added.

Mr. Hutchinson argued that it is only when “we develop and maintain linkages” where every industry and every economic activity will allow “as many people as possible to prosper” that Jamaica will truly grow on a sustainable basis.

The Minister said the Government is committed to ensuring that the agricultural sector gets all the necessary support, where it can overcome the challenges, and where it can continue to play its role as one of the key engines of growth.

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