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Work on a National Food and Nutritional Security Policy is well advanced and is expected to be completed this financial year.

This was disclosed by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, during his contribution to the 2012/13 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on May 30.

He informed that the Policy is being done in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Education.

"This policy will outline specific goals in terms of the percentage of our consumption that must be satisfied by local production. These percentages will not be based on whims, but on our capacity to produce these things," Mr. Clarke said.

He further noted that where government has control over consumption, particularly in institutions, such as schools, prisons, hospitals, then "we will make bold to even legislate the percentage of local input that must be in these menus".

"We will, at the same time, ensure that local production is as efficient as possible. The Food and Nutritional Security Policy must provide the fillip required to stimulate local production in many areas as well as safeguard the nutrition of our children and the most vulnerable," Mr. Clarke said.

He added that it is going to be critical that a significant amount of idle lands be brought under production, while noting that the government will not tolerate a situation in which lands leased by the government for agricultural production remain idle.

"In this regard, we will continue to work with the National Land Agency to ensure that provisions in lease agreements for repossessions be scrupulously enforced. At the same time, our Rural Physical Planning Division will remain vigilant in ensuring that agricultural lands are not frivolously converted to other use," the Agriculture Minister stated.

                                               

By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter