norman_grant.jpgKINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ A Jamaican senator who leads the island's agricultural society is urging citizens to abstain from buying imported food this Christmas season.

Sen. Norman Grant says that all Jamaicans have a responsibility to protect the island's agriculture sector. Grant said Sunday “there is no need to look to imported food'' this Christmas because local farmers are capable of providing everything.

Dependence on imported food has ballooned for years in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries.

Besides urging islanders to buy locally grown food, the government has given away seedlings and gardening kits to encourage people to tend to backyard plots to save money and ease dependence on imports.

Caribbean tastes have been turning toward wheat and other staples from aboard rather than local crops such as yams and cassava.