SUPERMARKETS Association president Rajiv Diptee said on Thursday once there is demand for a product, supermarkets will ensure it remains available to consumers.
Diptee made this comment in response to Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon's statement in the House of Representatives onTuesday that approximately $1 billion is spent on importingf cereals.
He explained that the association has long advocated its support for local substitutes for imported foods, where they are available. Diptee said there are local manufacturers of cereals, jams and jellies, for example, to reduce the strain on the food import bill.
Gopee-Scoon estimated this bill to be $5.67 billion.
He added that with the demand for foreign exchange becoming dire, there needs to be a focus to see what substitutes can replace items which are currently being imported,
Gopee-Scoon also said approximately $180 million is spent on biscuits, bread and pastries. She said $28 million is spent to import fruits and vegetables.
Gopee-Scoon may elaborate further on this and other issues when the Senate debates the budget. As a government minister and senator, Gopee-Scoon can speak in debates in the House or Senate when necessary.