Industry Minister Says Country Committed to Expanding Exports

Photo: Michael Sloley Chief Technical Director, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Stephen Wedderburn (centre) and British High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency David Fitton (right), examine bottles of Red Stripe beer with Assistant Brand Manager at Red Stripe, Michelle Cunningham, during a tour of the UK Food and Drink Exhibition at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on March 16.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, says Jamaica is committed to expanding exports and satisfying customer demand in the United Kingdom (UK) and the wider European Union (EU) market.
  • e said as a result, the Ministry has embarked on a programme to significantly boost exports of sweet potato to the UK through the production of United States varieties and the trialling of melon varieties requested by buyers in the UK.
  • e Ministry has also been targeting the UK market through the forging of linkages with the Fresh Produce Consortium, which is a trade association for fresh fruit, vegetables and the flower industry, representing retailers, wholesalers, importers and packers in that region.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, says Jamaica is committed to expanding exports and satisfying customer demand in the United Kingdom (UK) and the wider European Union (EU) market.

He said as a result, the Ministry has embarked on a programme to significantly boost exports of sweet potato to the UK through the production of United States varieties and the trialling of melon varieties requested by buyers in the UK.

“We recognise that to (boost exports), we have to organise that in a more sustainable way,” he said in a speech delivered by Chief Technical Director, Stephen Wedderburn, at the opening of the second day of the UK Food and Drink Exhibition, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, on March 16.

Mr. Samuda said having more sustainable exports involves identifying markets, training farmers and potential exporters in international business best practices, exposing them to the requirements of the markets in an organised way, and bringing them into contact with the markets.

“So (we have been) facilitating interaction between farmers and agro-processors on the one hand, and buyers on the other, in a structured way,” he said.

The Ministry has also been targeting the UK market through the forging of linkages with the Fresh Produce Consortium, which is a trade association for fresh fruit, vegetables and the flower industry, representing retailers, wholesalers, importers and packers in that region.

As a result of this cooperation, Jamaican farmers and exporters have conducted transactions for the supply of sweet potato; yam; Julie mangoes, ginger, nutraceuticals, such as moringa and castor oil; a variety of herbs and spices and a range of fruits.

The Minister said Jamaica has been making headway in the UK marketplace, citing an increase in exports since 2012, underscoring a long history of trade and good relations between the two countries.

Meanwhile, British High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency David Fitton, urged UK-based companies to take advantage of any gaps in the local import market and to seek to contribute to the growth drive by the Jamaican Government as well as other governments in the Caribbean.

The UK Food and Drink Exhibition is a three-day event organised by the British High Commission. Some 30 British companies are participating in the event as well as representatives from Jamaica, The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados.

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