No need for panic if we support local farmers and eat local foods during potential coronavirus outbreak, says agriculture director

By: Chaïra Flanders

Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 18, 2020 (ZIZ News): There is no need for panic if we support local farmers and eat local foods during a potential outbreak of the Coronavirus or COVID-19.

This was the message from Director of Agriculture, Melvin James who was at the time addressing concerns on social media suggesting that the Federation would starve if food imports were disrupted due to the recent pandemic, despite assurances from the Comptroller of Customs that there have no such disruptions.

The Director explained that in a worst-case scenario, although we are net importers of food, there is over one hundred and twenty-thousand pounds of food on the ground.

Mr. James also explained that it is essential for us to eat local foods from the ground that we may have taken for granted, noting that root vegetable staples are packed with vitamins and minerals.

He said 6-7% of the leafy vegetable contains Vitamin A as well as Omega Fatty Acids.

He shared some statistics on local foods currently available for consumption noting that there are over one thousand cattle available for meat and more than 6 thousand pounds of carrots.

James said there are mechanisms in place so that when there is a crisis, local foods would be readily available for the public. He explained that in times like these we should direct our attention to the public market and road side vendors who sell local foods and vegetables such as breadfruit and pumpkin.

He said we have convinced ourselves that we need to eat food that is foreign but expressed that local food is just as nutritious, wholesome and of the best quality.

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