JIS News

State Minister in the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, has said that the contribution of Jamaica’s farming and manufacturing sectors to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could be increased tremendously if synergies were created between both sectors along with tourism, adding value to primary products for both local and overseas markets.
Already, the farming and manufacturing sectors together contribute approximately 22 per cent of Jamaica’s GDP.
Speaking at the annual Westmoreland Curry Festival held at the Mannings High School recently, Dr. McNeill said that each year, the tourist industry purchases approximately $2 billion worth of produce, including meat and dairy products from local farmers.”We want to deepen and strengthen these links that agriculture has with industry and tourism, so that we can all reap greater benefits and make more money,” he said.
In this regard, he said the Ministry stood in full support of the current ‘Buy Jamaica’ and ‘Eat Jamaican’ campaigns that would help to sensitize Jamaicans on the importance of supporting local farmers and manufacturers.
“Think about it: each time you make the decision to purchase the products grown by our farmers or made by our manufacturers instead of the imported goods, you are helping to keep Jamaicans in jobs, create new jobs for ourselves and save foreign exchange,” he pointed out.
The Minister noted that it was particularly heartening to see that increasingly, hotels were offering a broad menu of Jamaican cuisine that results in more benefits to local farmers and communities.
“It is this vibrant culture that our visitors want to taste and experience. Our visitors want to ‘Eat Jamaican’ when they come to our country and our Jamaican curried dishes have become a favourite of many of them,” he said.
Commenting on Jamaica’s unique cultural and culinary history, the Minister remarked that many cultures have helped to shape “our ‘Jamaican-ness’ and our Jamaican culture has, in turn, transformed those cultures into our own unique traditions”.
“While this curry festival celebrates our Indian heritage, we have also created from it a new culinary tradition of “Jamaican Curry,” he noted.Among the unique offerings at the festival were, curried dasheen; curried patties; curried fish; curried jackfruit; curried ackee; and curried gizzadas.
In commending the organizers of the event, Dr. McNeill said that the festival was a wonderful representation of what was possible through cooperation and strategic partnerships.Part proceeds of this year’s festival will be presented to the Mannings High School in aid of infrastructural development including fencing.

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