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.