Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Jamaica aims to reduce food poverty by 2030

Published:Monday | February 6, 2017 | 2:00 AMSyranno Baines

A Cabinet-approved Green Paper geared towards the eradication of extreme food poverty by 2022 and significant reduction of the prevalence of poverty to less than 10 per cent by 2030 is now available for feedback from the public and stakeholders.

The draft for the National Poverty Reduction Programme (NPRP) was officially presented at a National Public Consultation and Validation Forum at The Knutsford Court Hotel last week.

An initiative of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, the NPRP is spearheaded by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and will address the issue of poverty at the household/individual, community and national levels.

"If there's not a deliberate framework to address poverty, if you're just merely looking at growing an economy, you can find that while an economy may be growing, you may find growing levels of inequality and deepening levels of poverty, and we've seen that in more advanced countries across the globe. So we are very careful and turning our attention towards comprehensively and holistically addressing the issue of poverty. So, we expect the process to be tabled as a White Paper by the end of the fiscal year in March," Dr Wayne Henry, director general of the PIOJ told The Gleaner.

The priority areas were guided by extensive research and data, current policy focus of the government, lessons learnt locally and from regional and international best practices on poverty reduction and socio-economic development, along with insights from consultations with key stakeholders.

 

RURAL AREAS POVERTY RATE

 

Studies show that rural areas have consistently higher poverty rates. One such study in 2012 showed poverty prevalence at 19.9 per cent of the population, with the food poor representing 7.5 per cent.

Children are among the most vulnerable groups and account for almost half of those living in poverty. Other vulnerable groups include persons with disabilities, the homeless, the elderly and youth as well as those within the category of the working poor.

A poverty-reduction coordinating unit at the PIOJ, headed by Shelly-Ann Edwards, is tasked with the running the programme.

The draft may be viewed at the PIOJ website (http://www.pioj.gov.jm/) and is open for comments until March 3.