Schools to be mandated to use bananas in nutrition programme

Agriculture Minister Audley Shaws wants to make it mandatory for all schools to use bananas as part of their nutrition programme. 

This is in an effort to reduce flour and rice, given the high import costs and low nutritional value.

Speaking in St Mary on the weekend, the Agriculture Minister  said schools would get the bananas at a reduced cost. 

He also said  the country's high food import bill is a constant headache for the government and he wants it slashed.

The import bill is now roughly J$5- billion  annually.

“Right now 80 per cent 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 dollars a pound and we are getting it for our schools for $5 a pound.”

The Minister is urging school administrators to embrace the pending changes.

“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.



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