State Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Ian Hayles, is warning that food imported into the island, which have been found to be unfit for human consumption, will be destroyed.
Addressing a cheque presentation ceremony at the Knox College in Spalding, Clarendon, recently, Mr. Hayles voiced concern over reports that some persons are importing produce into Jamaica “that other countries reject”.
“For some strange reason they (importers) think…that (those produce) are fit for consumption by the people of Jamaica. I am sending out a warning today that, if you spend your money and you bring it here, we are going to reject it and we are going to destroy it,” he stated.
Noting that the country’s food import bill averages some US$800 million per annum, Mr. Hayles cited the need to significantly reduce this figure by producing and consuming more local food.
“Everybody wants to be an importer… in this country. We have to cut back…while increasing local consumption and production here in our country,” he said.
He urged that “whenever you go out and you buy (food), ensure you buy Jamaican. Ensure you check the labels. Ensure that…you are consciously asking yourself (whether) whatever I am consuming… is…benefitting the farmers of this country. We celebrate 50 years of being an independent people this year; let’s protect the (agriculture) industry going forward, for the next 50 years, and beyond."
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter