Govt to Relax Import of 'Prime Beef Cuts' for Tourism

JAMAICA - With hotel rooms expected to double over the next few years, the Government is looking at reducing the duties on imported prime beef cuts to satisfy the demand from tourists.
calendar icon 10 May 2017
clock icon 2 minute read

According to Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Karl Samuda hotel rooms are expected to increase to more than 40,000 rooms, resulting in significant increases in demand across all food categories.

According to Jamaica Observer, Mr Samuda told the House of Representatives yesterday that the Government supports the call by the tourism industry for the provision of imported prime cuts of beef to that sector.

“This will allow them to offer internationally acceptable standards of prime cuts to our visitors, whose tastes are becoming ever more discerning,” he said.

“We will, therefore, recommend to the Ministry of Finance that special treatment be given to these hotels, as we support efforts to improve the quality of the product, so that we can compete better with other destinations,” he added.

The demand for high-quality prime beef cuts comes primarily from the local hotel industry, since per capita beef consumption remains relatively low among Jamaicans.

Mr Samuda, who was speaking in the sectoral debate in the House, said that the Government is mindful of the enormous opportunities for sustainable agricultural growth and improved livelihoods for farmers, through tapping into the robust tourism sector.

“For tourism to be sustainable it has to work for everybody, including our farmers, and within the framework of the Linkages Council. We are determined to iron out all the kinks to ensure a consistent and uninterrupted flow of produce from farm to the hotel dining room,” he said.

He noted that the total annual value of demand for agricultural products by the tourism sector is estimated at approximately $19.4 billion, based on the 2015 demand study. Food items in the poultry, meats, seafood and fruits categories account for more than 75 per cent of this total value.

“Locally sourced agricultural products account for a minimum of about $14.5 billion or 74.5 per cent of the total value of agricultural products consumed by the tourism sector,” he stated.

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