Coconut Imports Cess for Industry Development – Minister Samuda

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, says the revenue generated from the cess imposed on imported coconut products will be used to develop the sector.
  • Speaking at Saturday’s (May 6) coconut growers’ annual meeting at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, Mr. Samuda assured that the outturn of the cess “will be dedicated to the industry.”

Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, says the revenue generated from the cess imposed on imported coconut products will be used to develop the sector.

According to the website of the Coconut Industry Board (CIB), which falls under the Ministry, a cess of eight cents per pound is levied on coconut products and some substitutes.

Speaking at Saturday’s (May 6) coconut growers’ annual meeting at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, Mr. Samuda assured that the outturn of the cess “will be dedicated to the industry.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Samuda said the Government was not targeting the CIB’s shareholdings in commodities manufacturer, Seprod Limited, worth approximately $5 billion.

In the past, coconut farmers have expressed concern over the Government’s interest in the shares.

“We will ensure that whatever is done with respect to coconut will be legislated…that cannot be changed. We do not wish to do anything that will prejudice your position,” Mr. Samuda stated.

The Minister said, however, that he wanted the CIB to submit a plan to him outlining the direction in which the industry was being piloted as well as how the revenues generated by the sector will be utilized.

Mr. Samuda underscored that the CIB and its members must examine and implement methods that result in the industry’s sustainability while addressing challenges encountered such as the lethal yellowing disease which affects coconuts.

“When you have done that then you can stand on your own (to) bring your industry into the modern era. The Government stands ready to partner with you on this,” he said.

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