Manufacturers Urged to Find Ways to Boost Productivity


Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Phillip Paulwell, has called on the manufacturing sector to find ways to boost productivity, noting that despite the challenges, the sector remains a major pillar of the Jamaican economy.
The Minister, who was speaking at the recent two-day trade and business exposition in Fort Lauderdale, organized by the Jamaica United States of America Chamber of Commerce (JAUSACC) and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), noted that the manufacturing sector contributed just over 13.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2005.
The figure, he said, surpassed the combined contribution of other goods-producing sectors such as agriculture and mining, and employing some 72,000 persons, which was nearly seven per cent of the total labour force.
Suggesting strategies that manufacturers could employ to increase production, he mentioned diversifying output, exploiting competitive advantages, targeting niche markets and being innovative.
Citing the example of Jamaican companies that have successfully positioned themselves in the international market, including Walkerswood, Gray’s Pepper Products, Busha Browne, Blue Mountain Aromatics and Starfish Oil, Minister Paulwell said that these companies have boldly embraced the competitive challenges of the global economy.
He noted further that they adhere to local and international standards, integrating the latest technology in their productive processes, and are adapting, planning and retooling more efficiently and effectively, to meet the taste of the modern, sophisticated and knowledgeable consumer. At the same time, he commended the Jamaican Diaspora for generating a significant crossover marketplace in North America, noting that the South Florida community has been one of the premier markets for the distribution of Jamaican goods and services.
He also lauded the partnership established by JAUSACC and JMA and noted that JAUSACC will be given full access to all Jamaican state agencies to facilitate the linking of business in both countries.
JMA President, Doreen Frankson, in her remarks, urged manufacturers to take advantage of the international interest in Jamaican products and services, noting that already, there has been interest in processed foods, aromatherapy and apparel.
She noted that while there is much more scope for the growth of Jamaican goods within the global marketplace, the “involvement of our manufacturers and entrepreneurs in the two-day expo reflected the determination and commitment of those participants to produce world-class goods and services and position ‘Brand Jamaica’ in its rightful place in the global economy”.
She pointed to the need to capitalize on the strength of the Jamaican brand, making the products and services more appealing to a wider consumer base, as it was evident that ‘Brand Jamaica’ has engaged all ages, colours, creed and cultures.
The two-day event closed with JAUSACC’s annual recognition luncheon, where 12 leaders of the Diaspora community were presented with plaques in recognition of their entrepreneurial skills and leadership in the South Florida community.
Since its inception in March 2003, JAUSACC has been deliberate in its efforts to promote trade and investment within the Jamaican Diaspora, as well as significantly improving international trade activities.
South Florida has the second largest Jamaican community in North America, as well as the largest contingent of Jamaican-owned small businesses.

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