Travellers Urged to Declare Agricultural Products

Photo: Dave Reid Chief Plant Quarantine Produce Inspector, Plant Quarantine Division (PQD), Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Sanniel Wilson, addresses a JIS Think Tank on September 7.

Story Highlights

  • Travellers to Jamaica are being urged to declare all agricultural products in order to avoid the introduction of foreign pests and diseases that could threaten the agriculture sector and the environment.
  • Chief Plant Quarantine Produce Inspector, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Sanniel Wilson, said that persons are required to declare seeds, meats, plants and animal products and by-products being taken into the island.
  • “Be it a tourist, a Jamaican or returning resident, if you intend to carry any plant or plant products here, you are required to have a permit. This permit will tell the exporting country the requirements for taking in this plant,” she noted.

Travellers to Jamaica are being urged to declare all agricultural products in order to avoid the introduction of foreign pests and diseases that could threaten the agriculture sector and the environment.

Chief Plant Quarantine Produce Inspector, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Sanniel Wilson, said that persons are required to declare seeds, meats, plants and animal products and by-products being taken into the island.

The declaration must cover all items carried in checked baggage, carry-on luggage and shipped items.

Miss Wilson, who was addressing a JIS Think Tank on September 7, cautioned persons against illegally smuggling plants into the country.

“Be it a tourist, a Jamaican or returning resident, if you intend to carry any plant or plant products here, you are required to have a permit. This permit will tell the exporting country the requirements for taking in this plant,” she noted.

Miss Wilson explained that in cases where there are no permits, the inspectors at the borders of entry will determine whether the items meet the entry requirements.

She is encouraging persons to adhere to the laws in order to avoid sanctions.

She noted that the Plant Quarantine Act of 1993 and the Plant Import Control Regulations outline clear fines and other sanctions for persons who intentionally smuggle in plant-related items.

“Sanctions for illegal introduction of plant and plant products range from $50,000 to $200,000, and could also lead to imprisonment,” Miss Wilson pointed out.

Meanwhile, for persons who may have visited a farm or ranch in a foreign country, she said: “the clothes you wear, we ask you to leave it there”.

Clothes and shoes worn on farms could contain traces of soil that might harbour foreign diseases.

Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Dermon Spence, said part of the Ministry’s mandate is to expand agricultural production and ensure that people have access to safe, quality food for consumption.

He noted that achieving these objectives will require that the sector is not compromised by persons bringing pests and diseases into the country.

As such, he stressed the need for travellers to fill out the declaration forms that they receive at the airport.

Mr. Spence noted that prohibited items that are not declared by passengers will be confiscated and disposed of, and persons could also face civil penalties.

JIS Social