Farmers Urged to Increase Production to Supply Tourism Sector
- The country’s farmers are urged to increase food production to supply demand in the hospitality sector, which is expected to double over the next five years. Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in making the call, noted that with the number of hotel rooms expected to reach 40,000 in five years, it is also anticipated that the need for production will expand.
- He noted that the current demand for agricultural produce in the sector is about $67 billion. As such, he said that opportunity exists for farmers to invest in increasing earnings, provide employment, save foreign exchange spent on imports, and ensure that tourists can eat fresh Jamaican food.
- Currently, the supply to hotels of fresh fruits, such as strawberries, provides a lucrative opportunity.
- The Ministry also provides means to connect farmers and buyers through the Agri-Linkages Exchange (ALEX) project. Already, this year, this project was used to supply more than $125 million worth of produce between January and October.
- Overall, the push towards increasing agricultural output bodes well for domestic consumption which is a positive for GDP growth.