Business

Food imports drop 5%

Shaw says food imports declined in 2018

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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For the calendar year 2018, preliminary estimates from Statin show that the quantity of food imported into Jamaica declined by 5.1 per cent, compared with food imports in 2017, Minister of Industry, Investment, Commerce and Fishing, Audley Shaw, told the House of Representatives, yesterday.

Shaw, who was speaking in the annual sectoral debate at Gordon House, said that a total of 1,017.8 million kilograms of food was imported in 2018, down from the 1042.8 million kilograms imported in 2017.

Turning to exports, Shaw said that preliminary estimates from Statin show that a total of 121.9 million kilograms of food were exported in 2018, a marginal decline of 0.04 per cent, when compared with the 122.4 million kilograms exported in 2017.

“It cannot be lost on us that overall growth for agriculture, forestry & fishing industry stood at 4.2 per cent, while contributing approximately 7.2 per cent to GDP,” he stated, noting that domestic crop production rebounded to an annual total of 7.2 per cent when compared to the prior year, 2017.

On the manufacturing sector, Shaw said that there was an overall growth rate of 0.2 per cent in that sector, an increase which was based primarily on the food and beverages sub-industry.

“This sends a clear message to us of the very serious linkage between agriculture and industry and the need to further develop the value chain. In every challenge there is a seed of opportunity and agriculture is the seed to Jamaica's economic prosperity,” he stated.

Shaw said that the ministry takes very seriously the non-agriculture portfolios, bearing in mind that these goods-producing sectors account for some 45 per cent of the labour force, while contributing more than 33 per cent to our annual GDP.

“We are aligned, umbilically aligned, to the country's growth agenda and the national Growth-Inducement Strategy. And so, even as we assess the achievements of the past, we are focused on the future. We are focused on inducing growth; we are bent on attracting more and more investment; and, we are going forward with prosperity,” the minister said.


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