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Come February 21 next year, the Ministry of Agriculture will officially launch the National Food Security Programme (NFSP), which will turn national attention towards the need to ensure food security, as well as initiatives being undertaken by the Government in this respect.
Agriculture Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, who made this announcement at a press conference held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston yesterday (Dec. 2), said that the programme is intended to “re-focus our minds to engage all the critical stakeholders, not just those who are primarily responsible for promoting local production…but other important stakeholders, who deal with things such as health and safety standards.”
“The intention is to lay the foundation …to take advantage of the opportunities that we have in providing for ourselves in the three critical categories that are important to our nutrition – our starches, our vitamins, and our protein requirements,” he noted further.
Dr. Tufton said that the country has had to depend on imports for more than 60 per cent of those food requirements, “and what we have clearly realised over the last 12 to 14 months, is that the erratic nature of the marketplace, makes our people vulnerable.”
He informed that the Ministry had been doing a number of things over the past year, towards achieving the nation’s food security and “what we hope to do with this food security programme is to pull all of these initiatives together and to showcase for Jamaica and for all the critical stakeholders, what is possible, what we are currently doing and what we can do in order to improve our food security as a country.”
The launch of the programme themed: ‘Partnering to Ensure Jamaica’s Food Security’, will be held at Font Hill Beach Park in St. Elizabeth.
The event, which will target companies, entrepreneurs and investors, will showcase the opportunities that are available in agriculture, the offers that may be on the table, and the partnerships that are possible, working with the Ministry or other private sector stakeholders, Dr. Tufton said.
He noted that there will be a number of workshops and seminars looking at particular areas of agriculture, such as in livestock or crop production, as well as exhibitions.