Sat | Feb 24, 2018

Samuda has gone (coco)nuts!

Published:Friday | May 12, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I have long been of the view that an umbrella ministry with overarching responsibility for domestic food production, as well as food imports, would minimise the policy incoherence that has long worked to the detriment of Jamaican agriculture and, indeed, the broader economy; and even more so since trade liberalisation a quarter of a century ago.

In one week, based on media reports, Karl Samuda has proven that it will take much more than just a 'super ministry' to loosen the Jamaican economy from the historic stranglehold of the powerful margin gatherers.

In a country in which local food production accounts for less than 15 per cent of the raw materials used by local food processors and below 10 per cent of food consumed by the tourism trade, Minister Samuda may have squandered his opportunity to be blessed by posterity by moving to place Jamaica a country in which food imports contribute nearly 25 per cent of our merchandise trade deficit on a path to sustainable economic growth.

In one year, based upon your report in Wednesday's edition, inter alia, he has managed, it seems, instead, to have performed the final rites for the Jamaican beef and dairy sectors, while threatening to demoralise a renascent coconut industry.

At his advanced age, I thought legacy might have been his most important motivator.

One is led to believe he has gone not bananas, but completely (coco)nuts.