KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 4, 2016 (CMC) – The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) says there will be an adequate supply of pork for the upcoming Christmas season and that pig farmers are now producing to meet 60 per cent of local demand.
JAS President, Norman Grant, said the association will also be able to provide sufficient fresh meat to the general market, as well as to ham processors.
Speaking at the launch of ‘Eat Jamaican’ month earlier this week, Grant said the JAS will be using the observance to intensify its promotion of local foods leading up to the Christmas holidays.
He said the JAS is in discussion with the Tourism Linkages Hub in the Ministry of Tourism to form a partnership to promote the initiative in the sector and that the campaign has achieved positive results since it was launched in 2003.
“When we launched the campaign, we were growing imports by a weighted average of US$100 million per annum. Subsequent to the launch of the campaign, that decreased from US$100 million to US$60 million. The Eat Jamaican campaign has saved the Jamaican economy in excess of US$400 million,” he added.
The JAS president reiterated his call for consumers to support farmers by buying local produce in order to further reduce the food-import bill, which is now at under US$900 million.
Chief Technical Director in the Agriculture Ministry, Stephen Wedderburn, said the ‘Eat Jamaican’ campaign has seen significant improvement in consumer support of locally produced foods.
“Eating Jamaican has many advantages; one of these is the critical impact that doing so can have on our economy. Buying and eating more Jamaican food and exporting more Jamaican value-added products will certainly aid our economy to transform and grow,” he noted.
Wedderburn said the agricultural sector has been experiencing significant growth, and commended the 230,000 farmers and 25,000 fisherfolk for the tremendous work they have been doing in increasing production.
“We foresee in the Ministry continued strong growth in the sector. This, we think, is a reflection that the ‘Eat Jamaican’ Campaign is catching on,” he said.
This year’s celebration comes against the background of a 14 per cent growth in domestic crop production at the end of the third quarter, following a 13 per cent growth in the second quarter.
Activities include a Thanksgiving Service on November 13 at the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands in Westmoreland and an Eat Jamaican Day Exposition on November 25.