Jamaica: Country has adequate supply of food - Paulwell
The Minister, who chaired a meeting with major distributors and importers of food items and lumber today (Aug. 21) at his PCJ offices in Kingston, said that based on an assessment and reports given by the distributors, the country has sufficient supply of chicken.
"Manufacturers are very confident that with the current storage and live birds that are in stock, we should not see a shortage of chicken meat in this period. In fact, we should have quite a large supply of chicken meat," he said, adding that eggs are also in adequate supply.
He noted that while there seemed to have been minimal damage to the coops and the birds during the hurricane, "some farmers we know were affected and we are going to work to try to restore them as quickly as possible."
In relation to other proteins, Minister Paulwell said, "we are satisfied that the distributors have sufficient quantities of tin mackerel, sardine, corned beef and they also have adequate supplies of salted fish and pickled mackerel."
Dry goods such as flour, cornmeal, and rice will also be available, he indicated. "We have received the assurance from the (Jamaica) Flour Mill that they do have sufficient quantities on hand and that imports will be arriving. The stock on hand will take us through to the first week of September, by which time imports would be here and they are relying on the restoration of electricity to the trade," Mr. Paulwell said.
In terms of hardware items, Minister Paulwell informed that while assessments are being done to determine the level of damage to roofs, there are adequate supplies of lumber, ply and zinc.
"We anticipate that in relation to zinc, we might have to increase our production locally or do some imports, but that will come in the wake of the assessment. We are also looking at the question of glass as well to see what we have to do," he said.
In the meantime, the Minister informed that the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has established a hotline (1-888-991-4470) for persons to report any shortage of goods or any issues in relation to pricing and related consumer matters.
He pointed out that the CAC "has not received any complaints about price gouging and we have not received any complaints about marrying of goods."
"We believe that normality is being restored very quickly to the commercial sector of the country. As we anticipate restoration of electricity in the industrial belt, we believe that this will enable the quicker restoration of supplies," Mr. Paulwell said.