JIS News

The Ministry of Agriculture is reporting that some 6,996 boxes of callaloo have been exported, since the reinstatement of the vegetable on the ministry’s pre-clearance list in August 2007.
In 1995 the Ministry, in order to protect the integrity of the export programme, voluntarily removed the item from a list of Jamaican vegetables that could be shipped to the United States of America (USA).
Speaking with JIS News, Chief Plant Quarantine Officer in the Ministry, Sheila Harvey explained that in order for callaloo to be pre-cleared by the USA, exporters must follow certain recommendations and guidelines.
These guidelines and recommendations, she pointed out, include the pre-clearance of the commodity only between October of one year to April of the other year, and the mandatory certification of all exporters. This certification, she said, is done by the Ministry and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS).
Continuing, Mrs. Harvey noted that any exporter who is registered to export under the regulations as set out by the Ministry can export callaloo to the USA under the pre-clearance programme. However, exporters must purchase callaloo from farmers who are also certified under the programme.
Additionally, she said farmers can export the vegetable without pre-certification if they have purchased from farmers who are not a part of the programme.
“You are still allowed to export your callaloo if you are not in this certification programme, but it would not be pre-cleared,” she pointed out, adding that all farmers are certified based on a recommendation from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI).
Explaining the process of certification, she said all exporters must account for each farm and where the product originated, and the level of pests found. Repeated interception can result in the suspension of the farm from the list and would require frequent visits from RADA before the farm is reinstated.
“Recondition of the rejected shipment will not be allowed if the reason for interception is excess infestation of pests. The recommendation would be reviewed at the end of the first year of the suspension and adjustment made as necessary,” she said. For every box of the produce that is exported, it is a requirement that the name of the exporter, consignee, commodity, weight and farmer code, which is given at time of certification, be clearly displayed.
At the time of inspection, a 10 per cent sample is taken and then inspected by two persons, one being a USDA representative, although this is not compulsory. However, if certification is being sought in the month of May to September, the USDA officer has to participate in the examination. Currently, there are 10 certified exporters operating under the programme.

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