Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness is calling for supermarket suppliers to reduce food imports and promote more home-grown produce. “I’m not here saying that we must not import. The nature of our economy is that we have to import but… we have to be more strategic in our imports. We don’t need to import everything, especially when we can produce it right here in Jamaica.”
“We need to eat less processed, imported foods and more homegrown foods – yams, carrots, and tomatoes. It must come from the farm to the fork,” the Prime Minister added, while addressing Progressive Grocers’ 20th anniversary banquet at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Monday.
Holness was supporting a call from the company’s Managing Director, Sing Chin, for suppliers to refrain from bringing in items that compete with locally made products. “We don’t need foreign mango juice; we have lots here. We don’t need foreign sour-sop juice, ours is better. We don’t need anyone else’s ginger cookies or snacks; ours have more kick and crunch,” Chin told jis.gov.jm.
According to Holness, the nation’s import bill was $5.9 billion for the period January - November 2019, representing a 3.9 per cent increase over the $5.68 billion for the corresponding period in 2018. Imports for food was US$942 million, which was a 13 per cent increase over the same period in 2018, when the bill stood at US$832.5 million.