Prime Minister Andrew Holness is urging Jamaicans to remain calm and not to engage in panic buying in wake of a case of COVID-19 in Jamaica.
Prime Minister Holness says local retailers should ensure that supplies are adequate and that prices are stable.
The Prime Minister’s comments came last night (March 9) while speaking at the ceremony to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Progressive Grocers Limited Jamaica at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
“In the current situation where there is a global threat, that is a possible disruption of supply chains by the COVID-19, retailers and suppliers in the distributive network will play a critical role in ensuring general stability in the economy. I want to take this opportunity to say to our Jamaican consumers that there should be no need for panic buying and the local retailers will ensure that there are adequate supplies on our shelves and that prices will remain stable,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In that regard, Prime Minister Holness noted that disruptions in the global system are inevitable, as such, the country must have certain production capacities, locally, in agriculture.
“Disruption in the global system is inevitable, and disruptions will become more frequent. As a part of our resiliency strategy, we must ensure that we have certain production capacities locally and agriculture is one area in which we must have a reserved capacity to feed ourselves should there ever be a case where there is a disruption in the global supply chains,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister is encouraging local retailers to use more locally grown and manufactured products and be more strategic regarding the goods imported.
The Prime Minister is also urging Jamaicans to eat more home-grown food from the farms and less processed imported foods.
This comes considering the recent increases in the country’s import figures reflecting 3.9 percent overall and 13 percent for food from January to November 2019.
And, Prime Minister Holness is optimistic that with the advancement in technology, there will be a new level of agricultural output brought to the market.