Food im­port bill trend­ing down


Ja­maica’s food im­port bill con­tin­ues its down­ward trend, with data in­di­cat­ing that there was a 0.7 per cent re­duc­tion or US$2.4 mil­lion for the pe­riod Jan­uary to May 2016.

This was noted by Min­is­ter of In­dus­try, Com­merce, Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries Karl Sa­muda in a mes­sage read by chief tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor in the min­istry, Stephen Wed­der­burn, at the 13th an­niver­sary of the Eat Jamaican Day ex­po­si­tion, on the lawns of Devon House in Kingston last Fri­day.

He fur­ther in­formed that tra­di­tional do­mes­tic food ex­port for the Jan­uary to May pe­riod in 2016 was US$13.2 mil­lion, an in­crease of 19.5 per cent when com­pared to the US$11.06 mil­lion in the sim­i­lar pe­riod in 2015.

“While we have seen an in­crease, it is clear to us that the gap be­tween our food im­port bill and our ex­ports is still too wide,” the min­is­ter said.

Sa­muda said the gains have re­sulted from ini­tia­tives such as the Eat Jamaican Cam­paign, the im­port sub­sti­tu­tion, and the onion de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes, among oth­ers.

“The Gov­ern­ment cer­tainly recog­nises the need to eat things Jamaican and that is why we have been en­cour­ag­ing the pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion of lo­cally grown food to re­duce our large food im­port bill and achieve food se­cu­rity,” he added.


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