State Minister Highlights Successes in Food Security


Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, has highlighted areas of success in Jamaica’s efforts to produce enough food to feed its own population.
“Food Security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifestyle. We are seeking to achieve this with specific crops and livestock focusing, in the first instance, on substituting local production for imports and later expanding exports,” Mr. Hutchinson told the World Food Day National Ceremony and Exhibition, Friday (October 15) at Clarendon College.
He said that the agricultural sector plays a crucial part in poverty reduction, and is a significant contributor to the economy. Last year, farmers created approximately $106 billion of value, an increase of 12% over 2008, producing roughly 490,000 tonnes of food, the highest since 2003, he explained.
But, Mr. Hutchinson cautioned against confusing cheap, subsidised imports and food security, as the livelihood of local farmers has to be part of the mix.”It should be noted that food security is also achieved when farmers earn a fair income for their efforts,” he said.
In lauding stakeholders for their role in the fight for food security, he said the ‘Eat What You Grow’ campaign has impacted tremendously on reducing dependence on imports.”The Statistical Institute of Jamaica is reporting that for the first five months of this year food imports were valued at US315 million, compared with the US$350 million for the corresponding period of last year, (so) we spent less on imports in the corresponding period (this year),” he stated.
He said that the gains must be continued, as the right of having access to food is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
“We commit to providing access to food security and a sustainable agricultural industry. It will take a concerted effort on all our parts to eliminate the scourge of poverty globally, but with sustained action we can make a difference,” Mr. Hutchinson declared.

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