MONTEGO BAY — Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, officially opened the Ministry’s Plant Quarantine/Produce Inspection Branch’s ambient/cold storage facility at the Agricultural Export Complex, Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, Thursday (May 26).
The new facility is expected to boost exporter confidence, and increase the flow of exports through the complex.
Delivering the main address at the official opening ceremony, Dr. Tufton said that the commissioning of the facility “marked a good day” for exporters, and that the government would ensure an improved relationship with exporters to increase business opportunities.
“Governments have a responsibility to protect the consumers and insist on certain standards being established and maintained. It requires, therefore, infrastructure, such as this one, to enhance and facilitate the environment, to get Jamaican products into the critical markets,” he said.
He added that the Ministry’s approach of adopting a value chain process, is in keeping with its desire to ensure that primary producers produce consistently and, importantly, that from the point of harvesting to the point of consumption there is interest in ensuring that the value chain gives local farmers the best opportunity to successfully compete.
Dr. Tufton also pointed out that the message will be very clear, that the Government is serious and committed about protecting the health and safety of consumers in other markets.
“It really rests with us to find quality of output, right through to the final consumer. We can help you with the infrastructure, as we are trying to do by establishing this facility here today, (but) it’s going to be up to you, to apply your own creativity and intelligence capacity to ensure that consistency is maintained,” he noted.
He said that success will depend on collaboration, and the Ministry of Agriculture stood ready to work with all concerned.
“This is a good day for exporters, and you can depend on the support of the government to expand the relationship, in order to expand your own business opportunities,” Dr. Tufton assured.
The cold storage facility should have a significant impact on exporter confidence. Exporters have suffered from the uncertainty of airline transportation, including cancellations and delays. But, with the new cold storage, in the event of these problems, the exporters are assured that perishables will be protected from spoilage.
By GLENIS ROSE, JIS Reporter