There are over 200,000 farmers in Jamaica, representing the largest source of employment. The World Trade Organization rationale on ‘Food Security and Food Sovereignty’ views the attainment of food security as pursuing international trade in food products that make them available at competitive prices. Food security does not lie in a country’s production of food, but in its ability to finance food imports through the export of other goods and services.
Currently, Jamaica is increasingly dependent on food imports, while not realising its potential for exports. Instead, the prevailing policy has resulted in reduced exports, no rationale in crop selection, price instability for farmers and consumers, little or no cold storage, little or no secondary processing of primary produce, no new technology, and the country still ends up dumping more than 30 per cent of its small farmer’s production due to a mismatch between demand and supply.
Therefore, according to an article on jamaica-gleaner.com, Jamaica’s agricultural policy needs to be more suitable to a global, technology-driven world. Maybe ‘support our farmers, grow efficiently, and export for wealth creation” would be a start.
Moving forward, the nation should be laser-focused and provide support to agricultural products which have export markets and value-added potential. Pepper, ginger, mango, cocoa, coffee, ackee, papaya, romaine lettuce, avocado are the best fruit and vegetable options to attain a global competitive advantage.
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