Thu | Jul 27, 2017

‘Eat What You Grow’ saving Ja $5.1 billion annually - Grant

Published:Wednesday | April 19, 2017 | 4:00 AMChristopher Thomas
Senator Norman Grant (right), president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), Donovan Stanberry (second right), permanent secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; Dr Horace Chang (second left),minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, and Glendon Harris, president of the JAS St. James Chapter, examine displays at the Montpelier Agricultural Show.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Senator Norman Grant, president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), said the 'Eat What You Grow' campaign has been shaving approximately US$40 million (J$5,134,123,600) from the nation's food import bill since its inception in 2003.

Grant made the announcement while addressing the 36th annual staging of the Montpelier Agricultural Show in St James on Easter Monday.

"Before the 'Eat Jamaica' campaign was launched, we were growing imports of foreign food by US$100 million (J$12,835,309,000) per annum, and since the campaign was launched, that has been reduced to US$60 million (J$7,701,185,400) per annum," he said. "The sector that is going to drive economic growth and development for Jamaica is the agriculture sector, and on that basis, I am calling for more and additional support for farmers and the agriculture sector."

Grant continued, "When we launched the campaign in 2003, our domestic crop production (DCP) stood at 491,000 metric tons. Last year, the DCP registered by the farmers of Jamaica stood at 668,000 metric tons. It meant that there was a 34.5 per cent increase in DCP over the 14-year period. When we look on the performance of the agriculture sector, we know every support given to the farmers and the agriculture sector will realise a momentous growth in the Jamaican economy."

... Helps Ja pass IMF test

The JAS president also stated that the agriculture sector has played a significant role in Jamaica's ability to pass the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) quarterly tests in recent times.

"Under the extended fund facility with the IMF, the critical sector that has played a role to help Jamaica pass the IMF test is the agriculture sector. Every single quarter, it is the agriculture sector that has played a fundamental role, and we need to commend the farmers, the agriculture ministry, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, and the JAS," said Grant.

The 2017 edition of the Montpelier Agricultural Show was earmarked as the event's 36th annual staging since its re-launch by former JAS president Violet Nielson in 1981. It was also held as part of the JAS's 34th annual celebration of National Farmers' Month.