Food security a top priority for the Government — Charles Jr
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Pearnel Charles Jr (centre)examines a sample of farmer Lilieth McKenzie's onion crop duringa recent tour of several onion farms in St Thomas. Looking on isMinister of State in the ministry, Franklin Witter.

MINISTER of Agriculture and Fisheries Pearnel Charles Jr says Jamaica's food security is a top priority for the Government.

Charles Jr noted that there is global demand for Jamaican produce, adding that the Government is seeking to increase local production of several crops, particularly onion.

He said the ministry has set a target of increasing onion production from 20 per cent to 70 per cent to meet local demand.

“That would be an enormous 250 per cent increase in one season,” the minister stated.

He noted that onion production is just one of several crops targeted for increased production to satisfy local and global demand.

“There are several — ginger, potato and others — that we will be focusing on because right now, our import bill is too high. We want to make sure that through our parish managers and our extinction services, that we at least bring it up so that we can feed our country. First order is that Jamaica be able to feed itself, feed its tourists, and then go out and stretch across the world,” Charles Jr said.

The agriculture minister was speaking with journalists during a recent tour of several onion farms in St Thomas.

Noting that agriculture is a critical component of the country's economic recovery, Charles Jr urged all Jamaicans to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the sector.

“Get involved. As we reset our economy, and we move to get economic recovery booming, farming and fisheries are presenting opportunities to you. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Rural Agricultural Development Authority, and all the necessary agencies, are ready to provide all the technical support and expertise to give you what you need in terms of knowledge and understanding to do your best in farming,” he said.

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