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Story Highlights

  • The Government remains committed to increasing the production of local foods as it intensifies efforts to promote food security and safety in Jamaica.
  • Through the agro-parks programme, the Government is strategically targeting the production of peas, beans, onions, fish and meat, a vast amount which is imported.
  • World Food Day was established by the FAO in 1979 and serves to heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, says the Government remains committed to increasing the production of local foods as it intensifies efforts to promote food security and safety in Jamaica.

He noted that the local domestic production of staples such as yams, bananas, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, Irish potatoes, and tomatoes continues to increase incrementally, while the island is also self-sufficient in the production of chicken meat and pork.

The Minister was speaking at the World Food Day National Ceremony and Exhibition held on October 16 at the Greater Portmore High School in St. Catherine.

Minister Clarke said through the agro-parks programme, the Government is strategically targeting the production of peas, beans, onions, fish and meat, a vast amount which is imported.

“Part of our solution must be to increase production and productivity of local foods. This cannot be stressed too often. Once we have produced locally, we must also aim to consume fresh local produce, which very often are the fruits, vegetables and staples we need for healthy diets and lifestyles,” he said.

Further, in keeping with food security efforts, the Minister noted that Government has approved the Jamaican Food and Nutrition Security Policy, which seeks to ensure the availability of a sufficient quantity of nutritious and appropriate foods, through increased domestic production and a sustainable level of imports.

“As Government and policy makers, we also intend further, to enact a Food Security Law to ensure the domestic production of a minimum threshold of a selected basket of foods for which there is production capability and national comparative advantage to meet domestic food, nutrition and health goals,” he stated.

“We wholeheartedly subscribe to the expressed view of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that raising nutrition levels include enhanced production, marketing and consumption of local vegetables and staple crops such as locally grown yams, sweet potatoes and cassava,” the Minister added.

World Food Day was established by the FAO in 1979 and serves to heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world.  In addition, it turns the spotlight on agricultural food production and stimulates national, bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental efforts to this end. It also promotes the transfer of technologies to developing countries.

This year’s theme: ‘Healthy People Depend on Healthy Food Systems’ served to highlight the importance of food systems that can feed all people in a sustainable manner.

During the event, exhibitions were mounted by the Ministry; FAO office in Kingston; Ebony Park HEART Academy in Clarendon; the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) in Portland; Jamaica 4-H Clubs; the National Irrigation Commission (NIC); the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) and the National Food Safety Committee.