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PM announces food security task force to assist those in need

The government will appoint a food security task force to ensure that every resident in need is provided with adequate food, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced in a national address on Monday evening.

“This is a major priority,” Minnis said.

He said a chairperson will be appointed to head the task force.

“The Ministry of Health knew that due to the COVID-19 pandemic there would be a need for the government to facilitate access to food and food supplies to our population already at risk for food insecurity and hunger,” Minnis added.

“Additionally, these measures were also needed to help those at-risk for hunger due to loss of income and employment. While the Ministry of Social Services is providing food vouchers and the National Insurance Board is providing some assistance for those previously engaged in the formal tourism economy, it was understood that there would be additional food needs for those who were outside of the formal economy or who would not apply or qualify for certain assistance.”

The prime minister said the task force will also make recommendations to increase food production in The Bahamas through Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Sciences Institute (BAMSI) and other avenues.

Minnis said he will have more to say on the government’s plans for domestic food production in the weeks ahead.

The prime minister also announced the temporary suspension of the grocery shopping schedule.

He said the alphabetical shopping schedule will come back into effect on April 20.

Grocery stores will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, Minnis said the first two hours of operation are designated for senior and persons with disabilities.

Essential workers will be allowed to shop on Saturdays.

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