Jamaica Can Do More to Profit from Organic Products

Today the first caller of the midday show “The Open Line with Winston Barnes” (WAVS1170.com) was the famous “farmer” who runs successful farms in Jamaica and reports on the business periodically.

He related a recent story about how he contacted a food and beverage personnel at a hotel chain in Jamaica. He was told the hotel chain was importing organic food from Spain. After some questioning and research he found out that there is not enough locally grown organic food to satisfy the demands of the local hotels and restaurants. His research also determined that the hotels’ cost could be cut in half if the hotels bought organic food locally.

Jamaica is missing out on a growing trend. Many foreigners who visit the island are demanding organic food. The hotels and restaurants are forced to import organic products to keep up with demand.

This view is also shared by Daniel Schweizer, the executive chef at Goddard Catering in Montego Bay. He spoke back in October last year during The Gleaner’s Food Editors’ Forum at Mystic India Restaurant. He called on the Government and farmers to invest in organic farming to capture a piece of the lucrative private airline industry.

Schweizer said “the number of food and beverage managers of private airline asking for organic foods has been on the increase, but Jamaica has not been responding to the requests as it is not empowered to do so.”

One group that has stepped forward is Farm Up Jamaica Ltd. According to its website

“Farm Up Jamaica Ltd. is a non-profit organization formed to help reduce the importation of foreign food into Jamaica, through the cultivation of organic healthy foods. Strategic organic farming of vacant and under-farmed lands will help re-establish the agricultural sector to its maximum potential.”

The organization recently started the 1st of many organic NON-GMO seed farms in St. Elizabeth that will produce Scotch Bonnet Seeds. Follow the progress of this organization on Facebook and contribute to their efforts.

Those interested in getting into organic farming should consult the Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement. They provide answers and certification for the prospective organic farmer.

The Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement (JOAM)
Farm Up Jamaica to grow organic foods, save money
Grow Organic
As Cost of Importing Food Soars, Jamaica Turns to the Earth
Farm Up Jamaica on Facebook
JOAM Organic Standards