Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, says the Ministry intends to tackle the issue of food imports in the tourism industry head-on.
The majority of the island’s total food imports, about 60 per cent, are directed to the hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sector.
Mr. Shaw said it should not be the case that most of the food served by hotels literally comes into the island on the same planes that fly in the tourists, noting that it was not just fresh foods, but processed foods as well.
Addressing the launch of Things Jamaican’s ‘True Stories – From Farm to Shelf’ at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston last week, he said that the matter must be addressed frontally, in order to create more opportunities for local farmers and producers, while enabling visitors to enjoy the Jamaican experience.
He noted that the Agricultural Marketing Corporation (AMC) Complex, located on Spanish Town Road, Kingston, will become a modern, supportive agro-industrial complex for processing, packaging of fresh foods for the domestic (and) export markets, and the tourism sector is part of the export market.
Minister Shaw remarked that a way needs to be found to penetrate that very critical market, a market that is now over four million tourists.
True Stories – From Farm to Shelf tells the stories of 29 local entrepreneurs in the food industry. The launch was also used to celebrate the linkages between agriculture and manufacturing.BM