Tourism ministry committed to increasing local goods in the industry, says Bartlett

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Tourism ministry committed to increasing local goods in the industry, says Bartlett

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett says the agricultural sector must transform to better meet the consumption requirements of visitors to the island.

Bartlett was speaking at the USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Conference 2020, hosted at the Liguanea Club on Monday.

“The production pattern of agriculture in the region has to be lifted to a higher level, where we are the suppliers of what is required for consumption. We must train and develop human capacity to improve the production and consumption patterns within our space,” Bartlett argued.

He noted that the tourism ministry is working very closely with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, to increase consumption of locally grown food in the sector and to assist farmers who supply the sector.

According to a release from the ministry, the drive which has been led by the Tourism Linkages Network, in collaboration with the Agriculture Ministry, has resulted in the creation of several programmes and initiatives geared towards building the capacity of farmers to supply on this demand.

Bartlett noted that ultimately farmers would earn more from the tourism pie.

“We commend initiatives like the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Programme that focus on human capital development, of some of our most critical members of society – our farmers. At the Ministry of Tourism, we too have been focusing on development of industry workers by providing training and certification for not just our workers but key suppliers in the sector,” Bartlett said.

He added that gastronomy is one of the leading reasons for travel. Therefore, in order for Jamaica to retain more earnings from this niche, it is critical that the country supplies more of the goods locally.

According to the ministry, data from the Tourism Linkages Network’s 2019 demand study, which looked at the demands or inputs required for the sector, revealed that the total value of demand for agricultural products in the tourism amounted to J$39.6 billion.

“The relationship between travel tourism and gastronomy is at the heart of the reasons for people to move from destination to destination. Eighty-eight per cent of the people in the world travel for food experiences and 42 per cent of the expenditures of the visitor is on food.

Agriculture and farmers become a central part of travel and tourism. Since we are about fulfilling the passions of people and food is the number one passion, then the farmer is the number one partner with tourism,” the minister said.

He congratulated the participants of the F2F programme and reminded them of the importance to share best practices to further strengthen regional growth in Agriculture and Tourism industries.

“I want to congratulate you for having this dialogue, and to implore you to be as innovative as you can. What you are about to do is not about food safety in the broadest sense, but it is about economics and resilience that you are building in the regions that you represent.

The capacity we are trying to build, to generate more of what the visitors need within the area, is the insurance that we are providing for higher level of retention of the dollars that are earned,” he said.

Since 1991, Partners’ F2F programme has been transforming lives in over 30 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia by connecting specialised volunteers from the US with farmers, cooperatives, agribusinesses, extension services, government agencies and other institutions.

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