The Eat Ja­maica cam­paign: Game-changer for the Ja­maican econ­omy

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT -

ON NOVEM­BER 25, 2003 the Ja­maica Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety (JAS) un­der my lead­er­ship as pres­i­dent, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries launched the ‘Eat Ja­maican’ Cam­paign un­der the theme, ‘Grow What We Eat ... Eat What We Grow’ with the pri­mary ob­jec­tive to drive a strat­egy of food se­cu­rity, re­duced im­ports of ap­prox­i­mately US$1 bil­lion an­nu­ally and in­crease the quan­tity and qual­ity of our lo­cal food which would ul­ti­mately lead to sta­ble prices and healthy food for our con­sumers. [Thir­teen years af­ter we are declar­ing the cam­paign as the game changer for the Ja­maica econ­omy.]

The cam­paign lead by the JAS un­der the dis­tin­guished pa­tron­age of the Gover­nor Gen­eral Sir Patrick has served the ini­tia­tive of es­tab­lish­ing food se­cu­rity path for our na­tion as well as ag­gres­sively re­po­si­tion agri­cul­ture and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment as the lifeblood of the Ja­maican econ­omy and the pil­lars on which we as a peo­ple and coun­try will achieve economic in­de­pen­dence.

It was the agri­cul­tural sec­tor that has lead to Ja­maica pass­ing 14 con­sec­u­tive quar­ter IMF test and has recorded a 28 per cent growth in the third quar­ter

of 2016 to record the largest quar­ter of economic growth for the Ja­maican econ­omy in 14 years. All Ja­maican to join us in thank­ing God and salut­ing the work of our over 240,000 farm­ers and fisher folks, Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, JAS, RADA and the 4-H and all other stake­hold­ers. The farm­ers have in­creased sub­stan­tially the qual­ity of the Ja­maican pro­duce and our con­sumers are now ap­pre­ci­at­ing that the qual­ity of lo­cal farm pro­duce is bet­ter than im­ported pro­duce. We are now self suf­fi­cient in a num­ber of crops, Ir­ish pota­toes, mov­ing from im­port­ing 90 per­cent of the coun­try’s de­mand six years ago to now pro­duc­ing 90 per cent of the de­mand. Our school feed­ing pro­grammes are no longer re­ly­ing on im­ported milk

pow­der but us­ing lo­cal juices, which is health­ier for our chil­dren.

Agri­cul­ture not only gives riches to a na­tion but the only riches she can call her own. As we con­tinue to work to pro­mote the cam­paign I would like to thank the Min­istry of In­dus­try, Com­merce, Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries, JAS board of man­age­ment, JAS mem­bers, ex­hibitors and stake­hold­ers for their con­tin­u­ous sup­port of the cam­paign.

The JAS con­tin­ues to sup­port our farm­ers, agri­cul­tural agen­cies and stake­hold­ers for the de­vel­op­ment and growth of the sec­tor and the tremen­dous ef­fort in na­tion build­ing.

As we aim to re­duce food im­ports by in­creas­ing crop pro­duc­tion to achieve over­all economic growth and food se­cu­rity in Ja­maica. We in­vite all Ja­maicans to be a part of our 13th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions as we con­tinue to ‘Grow What We Eat ... Eat What We Grow. Se­na­tor Nor­man Grant Pres­i­dent

A pro­duce dis­play by Ja­maica 4-H Clubs.

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