JIS News

MANDEVILLE — Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, has said that the Ministry is looking to change the day on which Farmers’ Markets are held to avoid conflict with regular market days.

“Farmers markets are not intended to compete with the regular market and as a consequence, I am going to talk with some of the higglers and tell them what we plan to do in the future. We are going to make adjustments if necessary so that consumers will have access to both,” he said.

The Minister was speaking at the Mandeville leg of the ‘Eat Jamaica’ Road Show on March 30 at Bronx Taxi Park in the town.

The Ministry, since January 21, has been staging a series of Farmers’ Markets across the island to address the glut in supply of some vegetables and ground provisions. Consumers have lauded the markets, which are held at least one Friday per month, for the availability of quality fresh produce at reasonable prices. Farmers, similarly, have been pleased with the turnout of consumers, and the sales made.

Meanwhile, the Minister said that the ‘Eat Jamaica’ campaign is about building the rural economy and reducing imports, while providing incentives to farmers to grow more crops to ensure food security.  “We are going to build rural Jamaica, we are going to save on foreign exchange, and Jamaica is going to be a better place for it,” he said.

“We want to encourage all Jamaicans to eat a little more local. Farmers, we have to grow well, we have to grow what is required, and we have to put it together and place it in the market in a way where people will enjoy it and want to buy it,” he added.

The three-month campaign, which has as its theme: ‘Eat what we grow, grow what we eat’, includes nine road shows at venues across the island.

The free events, which mimic old time country fairs, feature displays of agricultural produce and innovative products made by local agro-processors; information about the nutritional value of local foods and tips for planting backyard gardens; and music and entertainment.

The ‘Eat Jamaica’ campaign is being funded by the European Union (EU) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), with Wisynco, Jamaica Broilers, National Bakery, and Island Grill as partners in the staging of the road shows.