JIS News

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton says the Ministry intends to introduce locally- produced natural juices as part of the thrust to intensify the ‘Eat What You Grow, Grow what You Eat’ campaign.
This he says is in order to create better, and more aggressive awareness of the need for Jamaicans to support local farming, and production.
He noted that local food sources can provide as good as, or even better nutritional value than some of the imported foods, adding that juices provided an excellent start through a variety of local sources, including water melon, june plum and citrus. This avenue he noted, which is being actively pursued would be an excellent replacement for some non-nutritional drinks now on the local market.
Dr. Tufton informed that “We’re now working on a programme with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Industry to increase the foods that are produced locally into the school feeding programme. We spend some J$2 billion annually on the school feeding programme which is fundamental to the learning process. We are now looking at how to provide a variety of foods that can provide the nutritional requirements,” he said.
Dr. Tufton made the disclosure at Farmers’ Forum at the Brown’s Town Anglican Church Hall in St. Ann on Thursday, November 5. The forum was organised by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
He noted that greater effort was needed from everyone to get institutions, stakeholders and families to support local producers.
In highlighting the critical importance of agriculture to any economy, Dr. Tufton stressed that while financial institutions crumbled, farmers were still able to eat, provide for their families, and feed the nation.
He said plans are in train to expand RADA and make it more efficient and to equip the sector with the necessary tools and technology to enable technology-driven farming practices.
“Where you feel because your mother used to do it, your grand mother used to don it and you’ve been doing it for the past 20 years it’s the right thing and you shouldn’t change. We have to abandon that because times have changed, technology changed, methods change and we can do things better,” he said.
Dr. Tufton, who was meeting with the farmers as part of an island wide tour of farming facilities, applauded their efforts and challenged them to become more efficient and lead the charge for the consumption of more local products.

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