November: Eat Jamaican Month
Krysta Anderson, Gleaner Writer
The Gleaner-sponsored Restaurant Week (RW) starts tomorrow, and with its increasing popularity over the century, it is clear to say that November has unofficially been deemed Food Month.
The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) has declared this month Eat Jamaican Food Month in an official launch on Wednesday, November 5, at its downtown Kingston headquarters.
Speaking at the launch, which marked the 11th anniversary of the 'Grow What We Eat, Eat What We Grow' campaign, Agriculture Minister Derrick Kellier said more than 8,000 hectares of good agricultural land owned by the Government have been identified with a view to make them into agro-parks over the next five years. These agro-parks will be located in Enfield, Westmoreland; Shettlewood in Hanover; and Mafoota and Sunderland in St James.
The agro-parks, he said, will provide Jamaica with large-scale food production at the level of consistency that will make Jamaica competitive on the world market.
Kellier also pointed out that as it stands, Jamaica can now export bananas to the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago, following phytosanitary clearance by its authorities last week, noting that Jamaican produce was the best in the world and that there was a high demand for Jamaican crops worldwide.
"On October 16, we signed a contract for the supply of one container per week of bananas with a United Kingdom entity. This is expected to increase to 10 containers over time," he added.
PLAY YOUR ROLE
Kellier is urging all Jamaicans to play their part by utilising fresh local produce cultivated by Jamaican farmers, as well as locally manufactured value-added products, in the preparation of their meals.
Under the theme 'Grow What We Eat, Eat What We Grow ... Agriculture Going for Growth' , with sub-theme being 'Eat Jamaican … It's a healthy choice!', the month of activities is intended to focus attention on the ongoing Eat Jamaican campaign, which is aimed at re-establishing the fact that Jamaica is an agricultural country and that central to our Jamaican culture is the food that we produce and the ways in which we prepare them.
Among the activities to be held to celebrate Eat Jamaican Month are islandwide supermarket promotions, a thanksgiving church service, an Eat Jamaican Expo, and an essay competition.
From left: Dr Jerome Thomas, Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations representative in Jamaica; Derrick Kellier, minister of
agriculture, labour and social security; Luther Buchanan, minister of
state for agriculture, labour and social security; Jacqueline Simpson,
senior business development coordinator for pensions at City of Kingston
Co-operative Credit Union; and Senator Norman Grant, president of the
Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), with their 'Grow What We Eat, Eat
What We Grow' shopping bags all ready to purchase Jamaican produce at
the launch of Eat Jamaican Month held at the JAS headquarters in
downtown Kingston on November 5. -Contributed