JIS News

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  • President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, has hailed the ‘Eat Jamaican’ campaign for helping to reduce the country’s food import bill.
  • The President was speaking at the celebration of the 12th anniversary of the ‘Eat Jamaican’ campaign by the JAS, at their headquarters in downtown Kingston, on October 14.
  • Senator Grant also cited an increase in food production among local farmers and a greater acceptance by consumers of the value of eating food produced in Jamaica, adding that this has played a key role in reducing the import bill.

President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Senator Norman Grant, has hailed the ‘Eat Jamaican’ campaign for helping to reduce  the country’s food import bill.

“If we did not have the ‘Eat Jamaican’ campaign, our food bill could be US$1.5 billion. The campaign has managed to save Jamaica US$500 million,” Senator Grant said.

The President was speaking at the celebration of the 12th anniversary of the ‘Eat Jamaican’ campaign by the JAS, at their headquarters in downtown Kingston, on October 14.

Senator Grant also cited an increase in food production among local farmers and a greater acceptance by consumers of the value of eating food produced in Jamaica, adding that this has played a key role in reducing the import bill.

He said that 10 years ago there was a rush towards consuming imported food, but people are now showing a preference for local produce.

The campaign, which was launched on November 25, 2003, is held under the theme: ‘Grow What We Eat, Eat What We Grow’, under the distinguished patronage of GovernorGeneral, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.

According to Senator Grant, ‘Eat Jamaican’ is fully in motion and the quality of the local produce continues to improve and the quantity increases.

He dubbed it a movement towards achieving food security and food and economic independence.

“We will intensify it. It is a game changer for the economy. It will create more jobs, it will slow down the rural to urban drift and it will save foreign exchange,” said Senator Grant.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, congratulated the JAS on the campaign and emphasised its relevancy to economic growth.

‘Eat Jamaican’ was also applauded by him for managing to reduce the food import bill, despite having repeated drought conditions over the last two years.

“The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) figures show that the food import bill has gone down in relation to this year. There is no significant increase in the use of (import) permits, because people are really getting the message that we really need to eat what we grow,” he said.

Mr. Stanberry lauded the agricultural sector for its resilience, as it contributes to economic growth.

For his part, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)  Representative to Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize, Dr. Jerome Thomas, said his organisation is pleased to be associated with the campaign and that it is necessary and timely.

As part of its celebration activities, a thanksgiving service is to be held in Buff Bay on November 15 as well as an exposition day on November 25, which will be held at the Jamaica 4-H Clubs headquarters.

An essay competition is also scheduled to be held for students.