Eat Jamaican is worth repeating, says Stanberry

Thursday, November 23, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Donovan Stanberry says the message of eating Jamaican is worth repeating, noting that it is about promoting Jamaica's food security.

He said that Eat Jamaican can make a significant difference to rural development and puts more money in the pocket of farmers.

Speaking at the 14th Annual Eat Jamaican Expo, held at the Jamaica 4-H Clubs Headquarters in Kingston yesterday, Stanberry said, “We have to start that process of true independence, and as far as I am concerned food security is one of the most important facets of true independence.”

The permanent secretary said that there is no economic activity that has a greater multiplier effect than money that is made in farming, and lamented Jamaicans' preference for things which are foreign.

He added that the Eat Jamaican campaign has to be part and parcel of the initiative necessary for the reorientation of Jamaicans' psyche and noted that many of the developed countries that transitioned from an agrarian society to an industrial society did so through increased productivity in agriculture.

In making reference to the worldwide food crisis of 2007, where net food-exporting countries banned exports, Stanberry said that this experience has taught us that strategically it is not good sense to depend on other countries for our staples.

“In Jamaica, we have done extremely well in the last 14 years to reverse that, not only from the standpoint of people's psyche being changed gradually, but also from the supply side in terms of increased agricultural production,” he said.

This increase in agricultural production, the permanent secretary attributed to the hard work of the 230,000 farmers, 75 per cent of whom only own 15 per cent of the land averaging less than one acre, who ensure that we are fed.

Stanberry further noted that there is a connection between the high crime rate, incidences of urban decay and the neglect of agriculture and stressed that rural development was not going to happen unless there are sustained economic activities in our rural spaces.

When we support local agriculture, and the Eat Jamaican Campaign, we are deliberately providing a basis for economic expansion in our rural spaces, he emphasised.

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