In Jamaica, a Push to Eat Local

By

Above: the 4H Stew Festival in Jamaica (JIS Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal

It’s called “Eat Jamaican,” and the Jamaica Agricultural Society hopes its new campaign will get Jamaicans to start thinking about eating locally-produced foods.

The campaign, which was officially launched this week, is part of a month-long initiative aimed at promoting local food.

Ron Blake, acting executive director of Jamaica 4-H Clubs, a partner in the campaign, said getting Jamaicans to support local produce was effectively an investment in the growth of the economy.

“The expense is a short one,” he said. “In the long run, when you ignore local production, you are destroying the local industry. Once that happens, there is no competition for the imported product. At that time, prices are going to be erratic and higher than they are now.”

The challenge, he said, is to get “more people producing and to expand local production.”

But the benefits are many — particularly the lack of preservatives needed to extend shelf life, he said.

Jamaica’s local push is the latest in a series of initiatives by Caribbean nations to encourage agriculture in a region that faces an increasing problem of food security.