Minister Wants Parents to Encourage Children to Eat Local Foods


Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, has urged parents to sensitise their children to the need to eat more locally produced foods.
Dr. Tufton said that there are multiple benefits to be gained from this policy, including saving foreign exchange, promoting employment and creating a healthier population.
“It is so fundamental for us to support agriculture, not just because of the crisis we face, but for the future sustainability of our society because we are an agrarian society, whether we want to accept it or not,” he said.
Dr. Tufton was speaking at Friday’s (July 10) National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica’s (NPTAJ) General Conference at Jamaica College, Old Hope Road, Kingston. The conference’s theme was: ‘Families & Schools Eat What You Grow’.
He said that the multiplier impact of making farming sustainable and viable transcended the agricultural sector, and spins off into every other sector.
For example, he said that it was healthier, most times, to eat local foods as nutritionists have consistently stated that local foods are much healthier than imported ones.
“We have to get in the habit of recognising those critical benefits. Those benefits are in our interests. There are some collective benefits that we can derive, there are some individual benefits that we can derive, but it has to start in the home,” he said.
“It has to start with the parents, it has to start with the guardians, because you can make the change by making an adjustment in your choices, and the young minds, the ones who depend on us for guidance who, eventually, will have to provide guidance for those below them, are now at the most fertile stage of their development, when they determine what is right and wrong, what is acceptable or not acceptable,” he explained.
“We are working to promote local consumption, because we believe local consumption can create economic activity, save us foreign exchange and it will make us live a healthier lifestyle. That’s the Government’s approach,” he added.
He said that his Ministry was determined to sensitise the younger population, as well as the older ones, to the advantages of eating local produce, and said the school garden programme was fundamental to sensitising the young people.
He noted that last year, through the 4-H Clubs, 422 school gardens were established in a similar number of schools. This exceeded the target of 300. The objective over three years, is to have a garden in every primary and high school, and to establish a 4-H Club in each, as well.

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