Address By Hon. Portia Simpson Miller Delivered By Dr. Fenton Ferguson Minister Of Health At The Launch Of Indigenous Nutraceutical Industry

Salutation:

  • The Hon. Marigold Harding, Custos of St. Andrew
  • Mrs Beverley Anderson Duncan, Master of Ceremonies
  • His Excellency Professor Sir Kenneth Hall, Former Governor General and Lady Hall
  • His worship, Mayor Lee Clarke
  • Excellencies and Members of the Diplomatic Corps
  • Dr. Henry Lowe, Executive Chairman of the Environmental Health Foundation Group of Companies
  • Mr Milton samuda, President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce
  • Hon Ossie Harding
  • Other distinguished guests, ladies & gentlemen

I welcome the opportunity to address you on the occasion of this unprecedented function marking the launch of Jamaica’s nutraceutical industry.

The most hon. Prime minister who because of previous engagements is unable to be here, sends her apologies and best regards.

Today, we write a page in history, and one that i am sure will make all of us beam with justifiable pride.

As you all know, for centuries, nutritional medicine has been dismissed by mainstream medicine on the grounds that it lacked scientific rigor and evidence that it works.

With our well established folk medicine tradition all of us as Jamaicans can attest to the benefits of our indigenous plants.

I remember as a child whenever i got sick or i wasn’t feeling well, my mother would prescribe some ‘bush’ for my ailment and it worked.

The health of all our people is the lifeblood of a vibrant and productive nation.

At a time when ‘natural is good’, nutraceutical products are assuming a middle ground between food and drugs due to the growing body of opinion that supports their role in maintaining health and contributing to the treatment of diseases.

I therefore commend the bio-tech r&d institute, dr henry lowe and his team for the hard work and deligent research which has resulted in these nutraceutical products becoming a reality

My government pledges support to the development of nutraceutical products from Jamaica’s indigenous medicinal plants.

For years, Jamaica has been sitting on a virtual gold mine of locally grown medicinal plants while the world has been developing a lucrative international market in nutraceuticals.

Studies show that of the one hundred and sixty established medicinal plants in the world, Jamaica is home to over 80 of these plants. What a blessed country we are.

I am also told that the nutraceutical industry in the united states of america is worth about $86 billion, and the figure is slightly higher in Europe.

In Japan, nutraceuticals represent approximately a quarter of total annual food sales – 47% of the japanese population consume nutraceuticals.

These products we are launching today represent a tremendous economic potential for Jamaica and the Caribbean. You have created value from intrinsically natural products, grown right here in our region, into products for use both locally and abroad.

Importantly too, what you have done is to demonstrate that we have the business acumen that is required to lead our nation out of its current economic challenges, by creating home grown industries that can ultimately compete with the world, using our own research and development expertise and of course employing our own people.

As we embark on the 50th anniversary of our independence which is a time for meaningful reflection and renewal of commitment to country, i have to admit, this development is an indication of the progress that we have made in acknowledging things Jamaican and i wish you continued success in your endeavours.

I am encouraged at the opportunity you have grasped in recognizing that this unique industry can have a positive impact on our economic development as well as our health care.

It is an opportunity to chart a new course. This value-added industry presents expanded opportunities for earnings and boosting job creation through our manufacturing and agricultural sectors.

The government welcomes the contributions that bio-tech and its nutraceutical products will make to increased production and job creation which is of critical importance at this time.

I urge you to press ahead with even greater resolve to continue to develop the industry which will provide even more jobs and be a major export earner for Jamaica.

The government looks forward to your continued success as in so doing you will support Jamaica’s economic development and prospects.

We support the position that a healthy population is an essential prerequisite for the economic growth and stability of our country. We are therefore committed to developing and strengthening health policies consistent with that position.

I have every confidence that working together we can maximize this tremendous opportunity and build partnerships that will strengthen the economic pillars for prosperity of our nation.

May god bless your endeavours and i wish your business everlasting success.

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