Jamaican tourism sector provides opportunities for local farmers

Published on : Thursday, November 23, 2017

Ministry of Industry,Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, said that the tourism sector continues to offer opportunities to local farmers.

Mr. Hutchinson said that a close study of the country’s high food-import bill shows that a large portion of what is imported “is destined for the tourism sector”.

The minister said, “Based on a 2015 Demand Study, it is estimated that the annual value of demand for agricultural products by the tourism sector is approximately $19 billion. More than 75 per cent of this value is for food items in the poultry, meat, seafood and fruit categories, of which locally sourced agricultural produce accounted for only $14.5 billion.”
The Minister pointed out that visitors to Jamaica thoroughly enjoy the taste of the local produce, and he stressed that Jamaican foods need to make up the majority of what is consumed inside the hotels.

Mr. Hutchinson said, “Visitors to our shores do love to eat and to consume a lot of our food. These food types range from beverages and snacks to fine dining. It is for that reason we believe Jamaican produce and our renowned cuisine must be a part of the menu provided in our hotels and resorts. I believe as a country we need to truly maximise the benefits of our large tourism sector in terms of creating the linkages to the other economic sectors, such as agriculture.”

The Minister said that the Jamaican Government is committed to ensuring that the agricultural sector gets all the necessary support, where it can overcome the challenges and can continue to play its role as one of the key engines of growth.

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