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Course Code: SBCO6000

Title: Foundation Skills for Graduate Management Education

Assignment: Critical Analysis

ID Number:   

Name:          Nadine Allen

Submission Date: August 22, 2019

Time for Emancipation from Foreign Food

Carolyn Cooper

Specialist on culture and development

University of the West Indies, Mona

The article Time for emancipation from foreign food published on Sunday August 4, 2019 by Carolyn Cooper bemoans the existence of Jamaica’s negative food import bill. Cooper underscores the idea of growing our own food and supporting local farmers.

The root cause of preference for foreign food is deeply embedded in what Cooper stated is our mental enslavement.

No amount of mental enslavement can rival the gross levels of diseconomies of scale, globalization effects and industrialization that drives the production and consumption of local products. Cooper scratches the surface of Jamaica’s importation problems and offers a feeble solution in addressing the country’s food import deficit.

The writer made reference to the 2017 import bill of US$842 million and further added that 60% of that was consumed by the hotel and restaurant industries.

It is noteworthy to add that in that same year mot.gov.jm notes that Jamaica recorded tourist arrivals of 4.31 million, an increase of 8.6% earnings over the previous year. This no doubt must have resulted in greater demands for imported goods. Further break down shows’ importation of fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, strawberries kiwis accounting for a substantial portion of that import. These items are in heavy demand in the hotel and restaurant industries. Also, Jamaica’s landscape is not suited for their growth, their importation is then vital to the country’s tourism and restaurant product.

On the matter of mental enslavement, there is no doubt that slavery has played a significant role on how we have come to see ourselves and therefore conduct our lives. Liverpoolmuseum.org.UK notes that from the 1700s enslaved were given lands to cultivate on. On these lands they would farm food such as sweet potatoes, yam and bananas, also some would raise livestock. These would be had in their own households or taken to the market for trading. Writers have argued that these farmlands gave the enslaved a sense of worth and independence. This would also form part of our heritage as well and if mental slavery played such a big role as Cooper believes, wouldn’t more persons gravitate towards farming. To say mental slavery has no bearing on the issue would be unwise, however, there are stronger forces at play here. Jamaica like many other small countries faces the unfortunate challenge of diseconomies of scales which Ruprah 2013, suggests make production cost great and reduces a country’s competitive advantage on the world stage. It becomes cheaper to import than produce locally and sadly it becomes cheaper to buy foreign goods than support local farmers. It now becomes not a problem of ‘foreign food’ cravings but spending power.

Coopers unconventional use of urine as fertilizer as she chronicles her own cultivating experience, sparked interest and led to the discovery of the usefulness and proven safety of this method. The practice though interesting is unappealing and does not drive enthusiasm to reproduce this method. 

Cooper’s platitudized suggestion that ‘everyone can do a little farming’ trivializes the major dilemma she outlines.  For one, who is this ‘everyone’ she speaks of? Farming takes space, time and commitment it is therefore not suited for everyone. While lessening our imports is never a bad idea its answer is not to be found in backyard gardening, the very meal prepared by Cooper admittedly had an imported item. Not everyone is connected to the earth in this way, persons who so desire to farm must be encouraged and industries in this area must be supported and protected whether through trade legislations, government funding, research and private sector interventions and partnerships.

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