KINGSTON — Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton says a concerted effort is being made to ensure that there are no imported products on display at this year's staging of the annual Denbigh Agri-Industrial and Food Show 2011.
Speaking at the launch of the 59-year-old show, held on the lawns of the Ace Supercentre, White Marl, St. Catherine, on June 21, Dr. Tufton said the show will be authentically Jamaican this year, showcasing the best of agriculture in Jamaica, and the best efforts of local farmers.
“We don’t want to see anything except local foods on display at Denbigh. It should be local foods prepared by our local chefs, or chefs that were born abroad but operate here, and giving to our Jamaican consumers a taste of what is authentically Jamaican,” he emphasised.
He said this new approach is among several innovative features which have been incorporated into the annual agricultural show, noting that the restructuring efforts, which also include a change in the show’s title, form part of the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry and the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS).
“What we have now is a restructuring of the show, which will make Denbigh, this year, bigger and better and more relevant to the efforts of our farmers and hopefully, will be supported by more Jamaican consumers,” the Minister said.
Dr. Tufton stressed that this is important, as the Ministry wishes to ensure that visitors leave Denbigh with a real taste of Jamaica and what it has to offer, and as such, there will be both a Food Village and a Farmers’ Market at this year’s show.
“Denbigh, this year, will feature not just our produce on display, but will allow our patrons to come and leave the grounds with a bag of local produce to go home and sample. It’s not that it didn’t happen in the past, but this time, we’re making a much more concerted effort to formalise a marketplace that sells authentic Jamaican products, instead of seeing products made abroad,” Dr. Tufton said.
In the meantime, Dr. Tufton lauded the efforts of the JAS in staging the Denbigh Agricultural show, which he said continues to be an important event on the calendar of many Jamaican farmers each year.
Opposition spokesman on Agriculture, Roger Clarke also endorsed the agricultural show, which he said continues to be the premier agricultural show in the Caribbean, despite the many challenges.
The Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show is a hallmark event that has been embedded in the unique culture and the broad fabric of the Jamaican farmer from as early as 1952. The show is staged annually by the JAS as part of the country’s Independence and Emancipation celebrations.
The three-day event will be held from July 30 to August 1 at the Denbigh show grounds in May Pen, Clarendon under the theme: ‘Grow What We Eat, Eat What We Grow: Opportunity and Technology-driven Denbigh 2011’.
Among those attending the launch were: President of the JAS, Glendon Harris; Chairman, Denbigh Committee, Senator Norman Grant, and Executive Director of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Al Powell.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter