Eat Jamaican campaign falls short after 10 years
While there has been some progress in improving food production and productivity, Jamaica is still far from achieving the desired level of food nutrition and security, according to Dr Jerome Thomas, the Food and Agricultural Organization's (FAO) represent-ative to Jamaica.
Thomas told Monday's official launch of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Eat Jamaican campaign that while it had stimulated increased production and consumption of local agricultural products, the campaign has fallen short.
"FAO's vision is for a world free from hunger and malnutrition, where food and agriculture contribute to improving the living standards of all - especially the poorest - in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner," he said.
"Achieving this vision at the national level would require significantly increasing production and consumption of locally produced agricultural products as is envisaged by the Eat Jamaica campaign," he told a wide cross section of stakeholders in the agriculture industry at King's House in St Andrew.
Describing response to the campaign as "mixed", Thomas told The Gleaner that despite self-sufficiency in some areas, devastation of the dairy industry and challenges facing goat and sheep farmers continue to hobble the country's efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty.
He explained: "It is mixed in the sense that while we are seeing some increases in poultry, potato, and pork, we still have some challenges in milk production, and there is still a long way to go in terms of small ruminants."
To this end, the FAO has brought in a consultant to conduct an assessment of the devastated dairy sector and present a strategic development plan to reposition it so it can again make an important contribution to national development.