Minister Shaw to Tackle Food Imports in Tourism Sector

Photo: Michael Sloley Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw (centre), engages with Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Valerie Veira (right), and Executive Director of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Imega Breese McNab. Occasion was the launch of the ‘True Stories – From Farm to Shelf’ publication on May 15, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Ministry intends to tackle the issue of food imports in the tourism industry head-on.
  • Mr. Shaw said it should not be the case that most of the food served by hotels “literally comes into the island on the same planes that fly in the tourists”.
  • “It’s not just fresh foods, but processed foods as well,” he noted, while addressing the launch of Things Jamaican's ‘True Stories – From Farm to Shelf’ at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on May 15.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, says the Ministry intends to tackle the issue of food imports in the tourism industry head-on.

The majority of the island’s total food imports, about 60 per cent, are directed to the hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sector.

Mr. Shaw said it should not be the case that most of the food served by hotels “literally comes into the island on the same planes that fly in the tourists”.

“It’s not just fresh foods, but processed foods as well,” he noted, while addressing the launch of Things Jamaican’s ‘True Stories – From Farm to Shelf’ at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on May 15.

He said that the matter must be addressed “frontally” in order to create more opportunities for local farmers and producers, while enabling visitors to enjoy the Jamaican experience.

“We have to find a way to penetrate that very critical market, a market that is now over four million tourists,” he added.

He noted that the Agricultural Marketing Corporation (AMC) Complex, located on Spanish Town Road, Kingston, will become a modern, supportive agro-industrial complex for “processing, packaging of fresh foods for the domestic (and) export markets, and the tourism sector is part of the export market”.

True Stories – From Farm to Shelf tells the stories of 29 local entrepreneurs in the food industry.

The launch was also used to celebrate the linkages between agriculture and manufacturing.

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