Real food security

Barbara
Gloudon

Friday, March 15, 2019

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What do you think about when you hear the term “food security”? Do you see Farmer Joe putting his yam and banana under lock and key? Truth be told, with how the wicked have been preying on farmers — reaping and 'tiefing' what they did not sow — padlocks and chains aren't a bad idea.

What the experts really mean when they talk about “food security” is our ability to provide enough food for our people. In times of drought and flood, when acres of crops are damaged, the topic of food security gets moved further along the list of things to fret about.

The recent demolition of the Constant Spring Market may not seem like a serious threat to supply, but for those who are affected it is very important to them. Questions about what the vendors will do now that the market is gone is only part of the equation. What happens to those who were regular shoppers? Not everyone in the area can jump in their cars and head off to “Curry” to get a deal. For retirees and those on a fixed income, every penny must be pinched. How will they manage?

Health experts tell us to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Good starches like yam and banana are preferable to white rice and flour. Remember, market prices and supermarket prices are not one and the same.

So far, I haven't heard what arrangements are being made to replace or give access to a market. As for Stony Hill Market, that is a far way up the road and heading down to Cross Roads is quite a stretch. Forget about heading over to Papine Market. Sorry, 10 months later, that still remains without a roof and the vendors and their customers continue to wait.

We talk about the importance of farming to move us forward, but it sometimes seems that farmers are left out in the cold.

Happenings out at Bernard Lodge have been drawing public attention. News came days ago that several farmers have found that land they had leased and put into production has been sold from under them. They've been given notice to pull up roots and move along. Houses are to be the new crop planted on the land.

The farmers are adamant that they will not be pushed off the land without proper compensation or arrangements for relocation on suitable lands. The owners of the land have acknowledged that the process of giving the farmers notice was not handled in the right way and have said they will be talking with the farmers to make sure they can come to an amicable resolution.

It is important that those who want to farm, and are willing to take up the hard work that is involved, be supported and encouraged. We depend on farmers to put food on our tables and money in the economy through reduced imports and greater exports. Let's get it right.

Long walk to freedom

The big-ticket this weekend will be the Buju Banton concert. For months his fans have been anxiously waiting for the “Gargamel” to perform, live and in living colour. When the tickets went on sale, I overheard two gentlemen talking. One was willing to pay any price to be there. The other said he wasn't ready to support an “ex-convict”.

The eager fan continued: “But him pay him dues and do the time.”

His friend was not to be convinced. He was having none of it. He was not ready to forgive or forget the crime.

With all the difficulties that Jamaica faces due to crime, it is easy to understand why many people would rather perpetrators be locked away forever. Rehabilitation is not a word they are interested in.

Question of the Day: “Should we give up on those who get into trouble with the law, or should we be working harder to make sure that they can be reintegrated into society when they have completed their sentence?

In the Jamaica Observer of March 4, 2019 a report was published under the headline, 'Ex-convicts show off their wares at expo'. The Probation Aftercare Service put on the display to show the handiwork of the parolees that they work with. The items ranged from handmade shoes to clothing and vases made by men and women who were trying to get their lives back on track.

Yes, we need to put effort into keeping people away from wrongdoing. Prevention is better than cure. We should also find time to make sure that we help those who can find their way back into the community. We're all in this preckeh together. Together we will find our way out.

Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or gloudonb@gmail.com.


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