JIS News

Minister of State for Agriculture, J.C. Hutchinson, has called for renewed commitment among all stakeholders to address the plight of the underfed and undernourished in the country.
Speaking at the World Food Day Awards ceremony held recently at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, Mr. Hutchinson urged stakeholders not to become complacent in spite of evidence indicating a reduction in poverty levels and hunger in children in Jamaica.
Citing statistics from the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) Survey of Living Conditions, he said that between 2004 and 2005, the incidence of poverty in Jamaica dropped by 2.1 percentage points. “It’s also significant to note that an analysis of poverty levels between 1995 and 2005 show a reduction of 12.7 percentage points in poverty across the population,” he stated.
“This reduction, nothwithstanding, we cannot afford to become complacent as the issue of hunger is still a serious phenomena in Jamaica. This is so because despite the decline in overall poverty, data from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) shows that as economic activities increase, a large percentage of the population is spending less on food consumption and more on housing, household and transportation,” he said.
Mr. Hutchinson said that efforts are being made to address the situation, and are supported in the 2006 Government of Jamaica/United Nations Children Fund Country programme.
He also alluded to several activities being carried out by the Ministry of Education through the National School Feeding Programme “to alleviate hunger in our school population, and the initiatives of our own extension service provider Rural Agricultural Development Agency (RADA), in working with farmers in a bid to ensure food security, with the overriding aim of providing food for all”. In the meantime, he said that FAO’s World Food Day Awards, which recognizes the best school and backyard gardens and innovation in food production, are in keeping with the Ministry’s objectives of efficient, competitive production practices to maximize yields and profitability, and the creative use of land.
This year’s World Food Day was observed under the theme: ‘The Right to Food’. According to the FAO, 820 million of the world’s undernourished people reside in developing countries.

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