By Kimone Witter
Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) President Lenworth Fulton says reducing the country's food import bill should be high on the agenda for Floyd Green who was returned to the post of Agriculture Minister.
For 2022, Jamaica recorded its highest trade deficit since 2008. According to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), the country's negative trade balance amounted to US$5.8 billion last year.
Mr. Fulton believes a policy platform should be established to guide what is imported.
He criticised a suggestion from Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna that the 'Eat what we grow and grow what we eat' concept is "primitive and should be thrown through the window".
"What Lisa Hanna has said [is] we shouldn’t eat our food that we grow, we should import the food. And while I recognise that that import policy exists in the Caribbean, they have that policy because they don’t have any land to grow anything and most of their islands is sand anyway. So you can’t import that and say we should just import, import, import," he contended.
Mr. Fulton has also called for greater synergies between the Agriculture and Tourism ministries.
"I need [Minister Green] to work with Ed Bartlett to ensure that any new hotels coming into Jamaica must live by some legislation to use the food we have here first before you think about importation," he suggested.