Jamaica introduces food security initiatives
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Robert Montague says an extensive tree planting initiative will be launched soon, as well as new regulations to govern food imports and local food processors.
KINGSTON, Jamaica, October 19, 2011 - Authorities have moved to reduce fruit imports, counter deforestation and boost employment through an extensive tree planting initiative that will be rolled out next year January.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Robert Montague, said they are aiming to plant 50,000 fruit trees throughout the country to coincide with Jamaica’s 50th anniversary celebration as part of a wider food security initiative.
Minister Montague also revealed plans to expand the production of turmeric, ginger and hot pepper from early next year.
He said, government, will at the same time move to correct post harvest problems involving those crops.
"Together these initiatives, in conjunction with increased production in domestic crops, will assist Jamaica to bolster its food security. We are not where we would like to be, but the process has begun,” he said.
New regulations will also be introduced early next year to govern food imports and local food processors as part of the Food Safety Policy, recently approved by Cabinet.
“If the processing plants cannot meet the Jamaican standards, the food cannot come into Jamaica as long as I am Minister,” he emphasised.
The agriculture minister said local food processors will also be required to be registered and their operations inspected by the Ministry of Health, Factories Corporation, Parish Councils and Bureau of Standards.