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Some 15 local companies, representing 25 export brands, will be on show in the United Kingdom (UK) next week at the International Food and Drink Expo (IFE) in Birmingham.

The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is providing sponsorship for the companies to attend the four-day exposition, from March 13 to 16, where they will display a range of high quality and authentic local products to an international market.

Jamaica’s participation in IFE is part of the ‘Meet Jamaica 2012’ initiative, which is designed to capitalise on the business opportunities that might occur before, during and after next year’s staging of the London Olympics. It is being undertaken by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) in collaboration with the private sector.

Over the next 18 months, Jamaican businesses will infiltrate the UK market, participating in a number of high visibility trade and investment events.

President of JAMPRO, Sancia Templer, speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday (March 8) at the agency’s New Kingston offices, said that in addition to the IFE, local companies will also participate in the UK Investment Forum and the official UK Meet Jamaica launch in Birmingham under phase one of the initiative.

She said in developing Meet Jamaica, careful consideration was given to  events and locations that would provide the most visibility and impact, such as venues with the highest concentration of Jamaican Diaspora, strong commercial ties to the region and proximity to the Olympic village.

She added that JAMPRO’s interest in this initiative is premised on strong business outcomes.

“We are seeking to facilitate increased trade leads, and to generate new supply and distribution contracts for the brands that will be promoted in the United Kingdom this quarter and in the succeeding missions in the market. In so doing we will capitalise in a tangible way from Brand Jamaica at the Olympics,” Mrs. Templer stated.

GeneralManager, JamaicaNational Building Society, Earl Jarrett, said  Meet Jamaica will deliver important jobs for the country by facilitating export opportunities. He urged the business community to observe the meet Jamaica calendar and invest in events that match their business objectives. “It is important to express an interest in the events as early as possible and to capitalise on the benefits they bring,” he stated.

He also informed that Taste of London will be held in June where Jamaican cuisine will be showcased and some 50,000 persons, expected to attend, will have an opportunity to experience the culture and sample the taste of Jamaica. “Already, there is growing interest in this event, and I encourage companies not to be left out,” Mr. Jarrett said.

The IFE is the largest international food and drink event in the UK, and is the premier sourcing opportunity for new food and drink products. It brings together key decision makers from the retail, food service, and manufacturing industries from Europe and beyond.

Some of the local companies participating in the next week’s IFE are: Honeykist, Continental Baking Company, Associated Manufacturers Limited, Worthy Park Estate, Mavis Bank Blue Mountain Coffee, the Pedro Plains, and Central Food Packers.

Virgin Atlantic has been selected as air carrier of choice for the Meet Jamaica 2012 Initiative.

                                         

CONTACT: LATONYA LINTON