Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Letter of the Day | 'Fake' rice an opportunity to turn negative into positive

Published:Friday | December 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In light of the troubling and still-unfolding saga in Jamaica surrounding the 'fake' rice that has supposedly been purchased by unsuspecting consumers, I wonder if this issue could be a perfect opportunity (in disguise) for us as a people.

It is important to mention that up to the time of writing, the authorities have found no real evidence of 'plastic' rice, which was what was initially believed to have been sold to consumers. Nevertheless, many people are afraid, and, from my own experience, I know that some people have even decided to stop eating rice for the time being until the matter is conclusively resolved.

I have a question: Should we not use this event as motivation to start producing rice on a large scale?

I remember approximately six years ago, a rice field was established here and things were progressing well. What happened? I think we should start thinking about growing rice - eating what we grow. Land certainly is not a problem. We have plenty of that. It is time we wake up and smell the coffee - and the opportunity - with which we have been presented. All it takes is the right people with the right resources making the right decisions at the right time.

Let us turn this negative into a positive. Some time ago, we were encouraged to start growing alternatives to rice. The 'cassava cry' at the time might not have caught on then, but maybe this incident could do more to encourage locals to grow their own crops. Sometimes obstacles hold hidden opportunities. This could be one of those times.

Mark Bell

mark.bellphoto@hotmail.com