Tuesday 21 May, 2019

Food imports down 5 per cent in 2018 - Shaw

Agriculture minister Audley Shaw shared the preliminary estimates during his Sectoral Debate on Tuesday.

Agriculture minister Audley Shaw shared the preliminary estimates during his Sectoral Debate on Tuesday.

Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw has noted that for the calendar year 2018 preliminary estimates from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) show that the quantity of food imported into the country declined by 5.1 per cent when compared to 2017.

Shaw, who was making his contribution to the 2019-2020 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday under the theme ‘On the road to prosperity; growing Jamaica’s industries,’ pointed out that a total of 1,017.8 million kg of food items were imported in 2018. This is down from the 1042.8 million kg imported in 2017.

Shaw also highlighted that preliminary estimates from STATIN relating to exports show that a total of 121.9 million kg of food was exported in 2018, a marginal decline of .04 per cent when compared with the 122.4 million kg exported in 2017. The value derived from exports stood at US$214 million last year.

Are we “growing what we eat and eating what we grow”? “Certainly, Mr Speaker!”Shaw said.

“It cannot be lost on us that overall growth for the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing Industry stood at 4.2 per cent while contributing approximately 7.2 per cent to gross domestic product (GDP),” said Shaw. 

Meanwhile, domestic crop production rebounded to an annual total of 7.2 per cent last year when compared to the prior year, 2017 and there was an overall growth rate of 0.2 per cent in the manufacturing sector, an increase which was based primarily on the food and beverages sub-industry. 

“This sends a clear message to us of the very serious linkage between agriculture and industry and the need to further develop the value chain,” the minister said.

 

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