Agriculture Minister Pearnel Charles Jr. says his Ministry is taking steps to boost food security and resilience amid food crisis concerns.
“Having recorded the highest levels of domestic crop production in our country, we acknowledge those risks which will impact the inflow of goods, particularly those used in our manufacturing sector,” said Charles Jr.
He said the agriculture ministry has been working with stakeholders to identify alternative sources of supply while also advancing research and development of alternatives for animal feed, fertiliser and food options.
“So far, viable alternatives have been identified for critical inputs which will be affected through supply chain challenges.”
The agriculture minister said that the Ministry has bolstered its efforts to attain sustainable food security by employing a strategic and deliberate approach to continue to invest in the sector, boost production and improve resilience to potential shocks or disruptions that may arise.
“Our reality in Jamaica is that over the past year we significantly increased our domestic crop production from 697,679 tonnes in 2020 to 770,456 tonnes in 2021, reflecting a growth of 10.4% for the period. Additionally, during the first three months of 2022 domestic crop production continued to increase recording a 10.5% increase over the similar period reflecting 212,000 tonnes, the highest level recorded for any individual quarter,” he said.
He said the agriculture ministry intends to sustain these gains by developing a long-term approach.
“Our strategy is focused on prioritising availability, affordability, consistency and to ensure the improved nutrition of the Jamaican populace. Within this context, the ministry is advancing initiatives that will focus on feed, fertiliser, other agricultural inputs and the environment. Further, steps are being taken to ensure the sustained availability of food through increased production levels and expanding our incentive programmes.”