Eat Jamaican every time!
The Government is placing agriculture on the public agenda with the launch of a national 'Eat Jamaican' campaign aimed at increasing local production and encouraging consumers to make healthy choices by eating local produce, fruits and vegetables.
Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, who launched the campaign at the Coronation Market, downtown Kingston last Tuesday, has long advocated the consumption of local foods. He unveiled details of the programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
Tufton said the three-month campaign valued at J$17.2 million will entail a series of road shows across Jamaica which will feature singing competitions, food exhibition/tasting, and hotel cook-offs. As part of consumer education, the campaign will seek to get consumers united behind the theme 'Grow What We Eat, Eat What We Grow', in support of farmers, retailers, agro-processors and distributors.
The minister also welcomed the endorsement of the 'Eat Jamaican' message by six, Jamaican World and Olympic champions - Shelly-Ann Fraser, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Melaine Walker, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Asafa Powell.
"The performance of the agricultural sector from which the majority of rural folk earn their livelihood is directly linked to the quality of life and the state of the country's development. Our farmers are indeed the cornerstones of rural life and the guardians of our traditions in villages spread across the country. We must ensure that they can continue to contribute to the vitality of the rural areas ..." said Tufton.
The gathering was treated to an amusing performance by the Eat Jamaican mascot 'Doctor Bird', and beloved comedic duo, Ity and Fancy Cat, who will be appearing on the road shows. Backyard gardening is another strong component of the campaign with the Rural Agricultural Development Agency providing vital information to householders and institutions that may want to start agricultural projects and embrace the message of making healthy food choices.
The campaign will also be backed by ongoing updates on a number of social-media networks so that consumers, especially young people, can keep abreast of the pace of the campaign and make their own contributions.