JIS News

Jamaica’s national fruit is on the rebound, following the lifting of a ban on exports of the product to the United States, due to higher than normal hypoglycine levels.
In an interview with JIS News, Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Don McGlashan, informed that ackee continues to be one of the main crops in the Ministry’s fruit tree crop commercial project, noting that over the past five to seven years, some 600 hectares of commercial orchards of ackee have been established.
However, he said that there is a need for more orchards of ackee and other fruit trees, as factories have been opened.
“All these factories are going to need throughput and the orchards which we now have will be insufficient to really provide the necessary raw material for agro-processing,” Mr. McGlashan explained.
He pointed out that farmers should appreciate that if you plant an ackee tree today, you will not reap any fruit for another two and a half to three years.
Ackee is a very important product in the agro-processing sector. “The agro-processors of ackee are on board, and we need to just maintain that dialogue between those who are producing and the agro-processors. By so doing, we will be able to ensure our competitiveness and our presence in the marketplace for ackee, because other countries are doing it as well, or will follow behind Jamaica,”Mr. McGlashan said.
He also pointed out that the ackee, as well as breadfruit, could very well be the leading products that are used for agro-processing. “We also need more breadfruit orchards,” he said.
According to data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), between 2004 and 2006, some 26.77 million kilogrammes of ackee were produced in Jamaica, 4.21 million kilogrammes of which were exported. The year 2005 saw the highest exports of 1.79 million kilogrammes. Jamaica mainly exports ackee to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.