Scores of persons turned up at the Jamaica 4-H Clubs Headquarters in St. Andrew, today (November 25), to participate in the 11th staging of the Jamaica Agricultural Society’s (JAS) ‘Eat Jamaican’ Day (November 25).
The event, which took the form of an exposition, was the final activity hosted by the JAS to mark November as ‘Eat Jamaican’ Month, which is held under the sub theme: ‘Agriculture…Going for Growth’.
Addressing the opening ceremony, President of the JAS, Senator Norman Grant, said that the ‘Eat Jamaican’ campaign is the most profound campaign since Independence, as the agricultural sector is the pillar on which the economy will grow as the country moves towards economic independence.
“The aim of the campaign is for Jamaicans to accept the framework and the concept of growing what we eat, and eating what we grow as an everyday lifestyle that will assist in decreasing our nation’s import bill of approximately US$1 billion annually,” Senator Grant said.
He added that since the campaign was launched in 2003, Jamaica’s domestic crop production has moved from 491,473, tonnes to 614,912 tonnes in 2013, a growth rate of 25 per cent.
Forty seven exhibitors were on hand to showcase their products and services, including the JAS Parish Offices; Bodles Research Station; the Ministry of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Food and Safety Unit; City of Kingston Cooperative Credit Union; the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), University of Technology (UTech), School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and Agro Grace.
Custos of Kingston, Hon. Steadman Fuller, read a message from the Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.
The Governor-General said that as the agricultural sector positions itself to take Jamaica to the next level of development, he was heartened by the great focus being placed on agro processing.
“This not only preserves the harvest for future consumption, but also increases the sector’s network and reduces the risk of our food security,” the Governor-General said.
Custos Fuller also read the Proclamation declaring November 25 as ‘Eat Jamaican’ Day.
‘Eat Jamaican Day’ was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and the JAS, to actively promote locally produced foods and help in providing farmers with a stable local market for their produce.