Levy supports Wehby's call to suspend agri imports

Levy supports Wehby's call to suspend agri imports

Friday, April 03, 2020

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Jamaica Broilers Group President and CEO Christopher Levy is supporting a call by Government Senator Don Wehby that Jamaica suspend importation of agricultural produce that can be grown here.

“Our farmers and local manufacturers are being faced with a sudden and drastic reduction in the demand curve. This can only be compensated for with an equally aggressive reduction in the importation of finished goods,” Levy wrote in a letter to the editor.

Senator Wehby, who is also group CEO at GraceKennedy Limited, had made the call in the Senate last Friday against the background of losses being experienced by local farmers due to the COVID-19 spread in Jamaica.

He had suggested that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority conduct a complete inventory of the local produce on the ground, adding, “after that is done, we mustn't spend importing any of these items that we can produce in Jamaica”.

“It burns my heart when I see a little small farmer having to give the melon to pigs. It burns my heart,” Wehby said while pointing to the hit farmers are taking due to the closure of hotels.

Yesterday, in his letter, Levy said it was critical that the country does everything possible to retain the viability of the agriculture sector.

“Utilising the excess available now, in the absence of tourism, is crucial towards keeping farmers engaged in feeding the nation and, in turn, their own families,” Levy said.

“If we don't support the agricultural sector now it will not be there to supply when the increased demand is restored. This will, in turn, have a dampening impact on our ability to recover.”

Added Levy: “I know the Government is fully aware of the issue, but broad action needs to be taken quickly.”

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