By Linda Straker
Trade Minister Oliver Joseph has disclosed that data from his ministry indicates that Grenada had a 6% reduction in its food import bill from January to September 2015, compared to the same period in 2014.
Joseph, who is also the Minister for Planning, said that EC$154 million was spent on importing food for the period January to September 2014, but for the same period in 2015 it reduced to EC$145 million.
“This is just for foodstuff, not any other things,” said Joseph who called for Grenadians to use more local manufactured food, because they are healthier and at the same will allow more money to be redistributed among local manufacturers.
“There are a lot of things that are grown locally that we can use, and when you do so, that will help reduce the food import bill, and the country will save foreign exchange,” he said.
He did not point out in which areas there was reduced importation, but 2 years ago Grenada launched a buy local campaign, to support local entrepreneurs. Joseph at the time was speaking at the launch of the 2016 “Made in Grenada Expo” which will be held on 7 February 2016 as part of the Independence celebrations. The Expo will bring together local manufacturers and service providers to showcase “all things that are made in Grenada.”
“Our first market is our local market. When we have successfully penetrated our local market, we know we are ready for the export market. So we must get acceptance for our products on the local market; too many times the way foreigners accept our local products, we don’t see that same enthusiasm among our local people who prefer the foreign products,” he said.
Admitting that the locally produced products may come with a higher cost, Joseph said “People need to think about the quality and the health benefit when making that judgement… Buy local, support local, so that we can stay healthy.”