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    • Senior Research Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Adrian Burke, is encouraging more Jamaicans to get into the business of planting fruit trees.
    • Dr. Burke was addressing the recent launch of the ‘Trees That Feed in Schools’ project at the Ocho Rios High School in St. Ann.
    • Noting that a lot of fruits are being wasted in Jamaica, he urged agro-processors and manufacturers to fully utilize local fruits when they are in season. This, he said, will serve to reduce imports and enhance food security.

    Senior Research Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Adrian Burke, is encouraging more Jamaicans to get into the business of planting fruit trees.

    “They are a very good economic source of revenue, and they are also very nutritious,” he stated.

    Dr. Burke was addressing the recent launch of the ‘Trees That Feed in Schools’ project at the Ocho Rios High School in St. Ann.

    Noting that a lot of fruits are being wasted in Jamaica, he urged agro-processors and manufacturers to fully utilize local fruits when they are in season. This, he said, will serve to reduce imports and enhance food security.

    Dr. Burke cited Otaheite apple, which, he noted, could be processed for juices, jams, and other items.

    He further encouraged the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to liaise with the Ministry of Education with a view to distributing in schools, recipes developed by the RADA Home Economics Department.

    This measure, he said, will enable teachers and the students to see the benefits of local foods, and also provide “an opportunity for entrepreneurs to increase their activities, develop processing plants, develop agricultural groups and so on.”

    ‘Trees That Feed in Schools’ involves collaboration among the Ministries of Education, and Agriculture and Fisheries; the Trees That Feed Foundation; Rotary Club of St. Catherines in Ontario, Canada; and the Rotary Club of Ocho Rios East.

    Through the initiative, thousands of breadfruit trees will be distributed and planted in schools across the island, aimed at boosting the school feeding programme, while aiding reforestation.

    Some 5,000 Ma’Fala Breadfruit plants will be distributed to schools over the next six months.

    Dr. Burke hailed the initiative, noting that not only will it support food security, but also what he described as “food sovereignty.”

    Food sovereignty is the right of people to define their own food systems. Advocates of food sovereignty put the individuals who produce, distribute and consume food at the centre of decisions on food systems and policies, rather than the corporations and market institutions they believe have come to dominate the global food system.

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