“There is going to be a huge demand for food. It is either going to be a case where our farmers can provide it or it is going to come in by way of imports. We want it to be a case where our farmers will be fully prepared to capitalise on this golden opportunity,” the Minister told the Jamaica Information Service.
Bartlett said he has been having very productive discussions with his colleague Ministers ( the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries on ways to sensitise farmers and suppliers as it relates to the anticipated boom in tourism.
He added that tourism’s success cannot only be looked at through the prism of cruise and stopover arrivals, but must also be looked at from the standpoint as to the impact it is having on the people in general.
“We have to look out for our people… to ensure that they too are benefiting from all this success. Tourism is for the people, and we have to ensure that their interest is protected.”
He explained that the idea of creating linkages with other sectors is to ensure that they feed off each other and create opportunities for jobs. He pointed to the push being made by a number of hotels to go for locally produced goods and a willingness to work with the local farmers.
“We will achieve economic growth a lot faster when we develop and maintain linkages to include as many persons as possible. Collaboration and finding the right mix are very important.” The Minister urged farmers to pay attention to quality, ensuring at all times they meet the required standard of the hotels.
He pointed out that Jamaica has a very high food-import bill, with a huge portion attributed to products brought in for tourism.
“Can you imagine what we would save if we were able to reduce those imports. There’s enough incentive for us to get this right. We should all try and seize this moment… a lot is riding on the actions we take going into the future,” he said.
- Countries: Jamaica