As a country we are too dependent on foreign imports to satisfy local food consumption. In 2010 it was reported that Jamaica imported approximately $US4Million worth of onions annually. There is a very high demand for onions locally as the average Jamaican household apparent has had a love affair with this popular seasoning. Jamaicans consume about 12,000 tonnes of onions each year, however, the country only produces a fraction of the onions required for local consumption. In fact, some data suggest that Jamaica is only able to grow less than ten per cent of the overall consumption of onions. We cannot continue to use scare foreign exchange to import more than ninety per cent of onions. The same holds true for other imported foods. Jamaica spends a staggering one billion United States dollars on food imports.
Yes, we can substitute onions. However, let us not lose focus. We need to drastically cut our importation food bill. A country’s development cannot be complete unless food security is adequately addressed. Food security is a matter of National Security.