Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw is seeking to make the use of bananas mandatory for all schools in their nutrition program.
This move will not only offer children better nutrition but also reduce the import bill on flour and rice.
The Minister stated that schools would be offered the bananas at a reduced cost.
Mr. Shaw lamented the country’s high food import bill and is intent on seeing this reduced as soon as possible.
The import bill is estimated to be J$5 billion annually.
“Right now, 80 percent of what our children eat is imported, and a lot of it is basically flour, rice, and bag juice – you know what I’m talking about – sugar and water. (It’s) $5 a pound for banana which is more nutritious than imported flour. The market price for banana is $25 a pound, and we are getting it for our schools for $5 a pound.”
The Minister is appealing to school administrators to embrace the new move and assist the government in its effort.
“This is not optional. They must embrace this opportunity for our children, and I am saying it because old habits die hard. And some people feel that it’s easier to deal with the flour and the rice. Let us ask our cooks in the schools to get used to banana porridge, get used to banana bread,” the Agriculture Minister said.
Edited by Jesus Chan
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