Green calls on hoteliers to set up food banks for the vulnerable

Green calls on hoteliers to set up food banks for the vulnerable

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, has challenged hoteliers to set up food banks for the distribution of excess food to the vulnerable in the society, working in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in an effort to reduce the amount of food wasted in hotels.

Noting that the latest Food and Agriculture Organization study indicates that 30 per cent of the food produced in Jamaica each year goes to waste, with the hotel sector being a big contributor, the agriculture minister also urged hoteliers to put in place systems focusing on composting, which could be manufactured into organic fertilisers for distribution to farmers at a reasonable cost.

This, he said, would lower the cost of a big input for farmers.

The minister was speaking virtually at the two-day Food Waste Conference held at the Half Moon Hotel in St James yesterday, which is organised by CaribShare Company Limited in partnership with Center for Responsible Travel and World Wildlife Fund.

The event, held under the theme 'Food Waste management as a Viable Community-based Solution in Jamaica's Tourism Sector in the COVID-19 Adaptation and Recovery Era', saw some 65 hotel personnel participating in the conference face-to-face and virtually.

Other initiatives recommended by the minister for the hotel sector included setting up of biogas systems, better provision of data through the Agri-Linkages Exchange (ALEX) platform as it relates to the type and quantity of produce required by each entity, and working with the ministry's technical team to provide better technical support for farmers.

“We are trying to build a market-driven agricultural sector… where hoteliers are providing us with this real-time information of their demands that I can then work with the farmers in relation to short, medium, longer term demands so that we can do appropriate planning,” Green said.

Green added that he wanted to see greater engagement between the ministry's technical support team, such as the Rural Agricultural Development Authority extension officers, and hotel kitchens in relation to the quality of products that they require so that precise technical support can be provided for the farmers.

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