Agriculture minister Roger Clarke has described as frightening the country’s US$8.4 million importation bill for banana products.
Contributing to the budget debate this afternoon in parliament, Clarke said the situation was unacceptable given the number of banana farms which are currently idle.
Jamaica was a major exporter of banana, but exports were suspended following Hurricane Gustav in 2008.
It was decided that the sector would concentrate mainly on the domestic market, but Clarke says despite this imports of banana products has been rising.
Clarke said it is time that the country’s idle lands are put to work.
One of his proposals is that prisoners be made to plant more food to contribute to the national food basket.