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Clarke: Jamaica Needs to Increase Food Production Capacity

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - July 15, 2013

Above: a banana plant (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Food insecurity is not just a threat to the Caribbean — it’s an active problem.

And Jamaican Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke says that the country’s current position is an “unsustainable” one.

“When there is insufficient local produce available, our dependence on imports increases, fueling the almost vicious cycle of utilizing scarce foreign exchange to purchase food from overseas,” he said last week at a conference on economic development in Montego Bay. “It is an unsustainable position.”

Jamaica’s government recently approved a new food and nutrition security policy, one Clarke said would ensure that a “sufficient quantity of nutritious foods of appropriate quality” is available to all Jamaicans.

If realized, it will be crucial for a region that is imports a disproportionately high amount of its food and faces the growing threat of climate change.

Jamaica, like a number of Caribbean countries, has been looking to push more citizens to return to agriculture, with a particular focus on the sugar sector.

“Like other countries in the developing world, Jamaica needs to increase capacity to produce adequate and wholesome food to ensure the health and well-being of our people,” he said.

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