National Food Committee established

National Food Committee established to increase capacity and efficiency of national food distribution

The establishment of the National Food Committee is part of the Government’s plan to ensure that the poor and those struggling through the current economic downturn because of the pandemic have sufficient nutritious food, said Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis.

The major objective of the National Food Committee is to steer the coordination and collaboration of the public sector, private sector and NGOs to increase food distribution nationally and fairly.

“This includes, in the immediate term, distribution of food for vulnerable individuals and communities,” Prime Minister Minnis told MPs in the House of Assembly on Monday 27 April.

It is believed that many more Bahamians and residents are vulnerable to food insecurity as a result of COVID-19, including the newly unemployed, self-employed individuals whose businesses are adversely affected, senior citizens unable to leave their homes because of the virus, school children who do not have sufficient food and some patients and those who provide them with care at home.

Mrs. Susan Holowesko-Larson, co-founder of the Ride for Hope Bahamas and Bahamas Strong organizations has been appointed as coordinator of the National Food Committee.

The National Food Committee will coordinate the various food sector agencies and groups for the distribution of food to the vulnerable.

The Committee’s immediate responsibilities will include helping to determine the need for engagement of food workers to help with the preparation and distribution of food and making recommendations related to the delivery of food for the vulnerable.

The Committee will communicate with wholesalers and retailers to confirm the status of food supply chains to the country and make recommendations on how to keep these supply chains viable.

It will also be responsible for putting together a digital food distribution plan to make sure that every Bahamian in need is provided with food.

The Committee’s members and stakeholders will soon be announced, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister said the Government will promote and strengthen industries in pork, poultry and beef and is committed to protecting local food production industries.

During his Communication to the House on Monday, the Prime Minister also announced the extension of the Emergency Proclamation to 30 May 2020 in a Communication to the House of Assembly that included an update on the national response to COVID-19.

“I know that some will be disappointed by the extension [of the Emergency Proclamation], including workers and businesses who are hurting,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

“But I assure them, and I assure all Bahamians and residents, that this short-term sacrifice and pain in absolutely needed to reduce the spread of the virus, protect the health and safety of those we love and to revive our economy as quickly as possible.”