MAY PEN, Clarendon – Senator Norman Grant, president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), has urged Jamaicans to mark their support for the ‘Eat Jamaica’ campaign by shunning imported foods this Christmas.
Grant, who was speaking today during the ‘Eat Jamaica’ Ecumenical Service at the New Testament Church of God in Clarendon, said eating locally produced food is a way of paying homage to Jamaican farmers.
“We need to acknowledge and celebrate the work of our farmers for what they have been doing across the length and breadth of this island,” Grant said.
“Each and every one of us has a responsibility to ensure that we protect the agriculture sector, so this Christmas there is no need to look to imported food; our farmers in our rural areas will provide.”
Grant also endorsed the practice of backyard farming.
“We want to re-establish Jamaica as a farming country, so the JAS is asking all Jamaicans to get back into the habit of farming in your backyard and in the schools.”
Meanwhile, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Roger Clarke said eating more Jamaican food will help to reduce the country’s high import bill.
“Growing what we eat and eating what we grow is very important if we are ever to become a developed country,” Clarke said.
“When you to the United States, the people eat what they grow and then send the rest to countries like Jamaica. Here in Jamaica, we have some people who love the foreign mentality; they would even import air if they could. But the more we import is the worse we will become.”
Clarke also told Jamaicans to substitute rice and flour with locally produced ground provisions.
“We don’t really need to eat any rice and flour,” he said. “You can crush the yellow yam and eat it like rice, so starting now, when you go to a restaurant ask them to put a piece of yam in the plate instead of rice.”
“When I was a boy,” Clarke continued, “we never used to eat rice and flour. We would eat yam, banana, coco, and dasheen. Only on Sundays you would taste up yuh mouth with little rice and then on Mondays we gone back to our good food.”