Cayman Islands must reduce hundreds of millions in food imports

It will come as no surprise to the average Caymanian that almost all food consumed on-island is imported. Given that imported foods (even in the case of fruit and vegetables) tend to be lower in nutritional content and are more commonly processed, this high reliance on imported foods is also a public health issue, and is connected to a high prevalence of obesity and non-communicable diseases.

Additionally, given the projected increase in climate change induced extreme weather events, it is strategically imperative to obtain as much food from local sources as possible.

During the first quarter of 2019, the Cayman Islands spent more than $CI 56.4 million on food and beverages, which represented an increase of 3% over the same period in 2018.  Imports of cereal and cereal preparations alone recorded an increase of approximately 38% during this period.

More than 93% of all food and beverage imports were for household consumption and more than 72% of these imports were processed foods. To break it down further, this means that each Caymanian household consumed approximately $CI 2,200 in imported food during the first three months of 2019.

Consume more locally grown produce
A simple way to reduce these numbers is to consume locally grown produce. Although there was a modest decline in the imports of fruits and vegetables during the first quarter of 2019, the Cayman Islands continued to spend over $CI 13 million in produce originating from abroad. Residents and business must make conscious decisions to source locally and consume foods from known-sources. Cayman has around 300 local farmers and two regular farmer’s markets where they sell their produce.


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