Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Stop the Glut - Shaw urges hotels to purchase local produce

Published:Saturday | June 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Audley Shaw (second left), minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, looks at some of the Jamaican produce with Norman Grant (second right) president of the JAS; Christopher Levy (left), president and CEO of Jamaica Broilers Group and Joan Sharpe-Colley, marketing coordinator of Fersan Jamaica at the launch of Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show at Hi Pro in White Marl, St. Catherine yesterday.

Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw has signalled his intention to have hotels use more local produce to minimise the incidence of glut in the domestic agriculture sector.

Shaw was speaking yesterday at the launch of the 66th Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show scheduled for August 4-6, 2018, at the Denbigh showgrounds in May Pen, Clarendon.

"Check the hotels on the north coast. The very thing that we have glut on right now, they have flown them in on planes coming with tourists to feed [them]. That is one thing, I can tell you, that's on my radar. That has got to change," said Shaw.

"In other countries like the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, they have carved out an arrangement. They bring in the hotels but say, 'Purchase from us locally'. So if they can do it, we can do it, too," argued Shaw.

"We must have the courage of our convictions to make sure that we have those linkages. It can't be [just] talking about linkages. It's going to be acting about linkages from here going forward," he continued.

Shaw earlier revealed that despite the adverse weather conditions that occurred late last year, domestic crop production for the first quarter of this year recorded growth of 2.1 per cent. Egg production also recorded considerable growth during the first quarter of this year, representing an 11.6 per cent increase over the comparative period last year.

Meanwhile, Jamaica Agricultural Society president Norman Grant has called on the Government to roll out a comprehensive strategy to support the agricultural sector. At the same time, he renewed calls for the amendment of the Agricultural Produce Act to increase the fine for praedial larceny from $250,000 to $5,000,000.

"Use that money to set up a victim compensation fund to support the farmers that they continue to rob and steal from," he argued. "We call on the Government to review the parametric scheme that we have contributed about $US12 million to without any benefit. Use that fund to set up a national crop insurance scheme," added Grant.

This year's staging of Denbigh will include a back-to-school fair and a 5K run.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com