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  • A sum of $123 million has been allocated in the 2014/15 budget to strengthen the country’s capacity in the export markets.
  • The funds will go towards the Economic Partnership Agreement II (EPAII) Capacity Building Project to accelerate exports.
  • The programme, which will run until December 2017, will also provide increased market opportunities for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector.

A sum of $123 million has been allocated in the 2014/15 budget to strengthen the country’s capacity in the export markets, so as to decrease trade deficits.

The funds will go towards the Economic Partnership Agreement II (EPAII) Capacity Building Project, to accelerate exports, enhance competitiveness, and further integrate the economy into global markets.

Implemented by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), with monetary support from the European Commission, the project should see a wider scope of improvement to laboratory services that meet international requirements and standards on food safety; international acceptance of test results, and conformity assessment services, and enhanced monitoring programmes for pesticides residue and food contaminants.

The programme, which will run until December 2017, will also provide increased market opportunities for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector; improve capacity of Business Support Organizations (BSOs), to serve their food processing members; increase product offering and improve quality of selected MSME food products, as well as increase quantity and improve quality of harvested crops supplied by farmer groups to selected processing firms.

Targets to be achieved during this fiscal year are commencement of the enhancing of local capacity to enable Jamaica’s food sector to increase sales by identifying new potential markets.

The new markets will be for export, and locally, import substitution will be enabled. Also to be achieved is the ISO 17025 accreditation of laboratories through training, engagement of consultants, and procurement of modern equipment.