JIS News

The Jamaican export sector continues to perform well, despite economic challenges, particularly non-traditional domestic products and foods which earned $15 billion (US$173.7 million) during the first quarter of this year.
Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA) President, Vitus Evans, said that the revenues were approximately $6 billion more than that for the corresponding period last year, based on data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).
Speaking at the JEA’s Breakfast Forum at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on Wednesday (August 11), Mr. Evans said STATIN’s figures showed that non-traditional foods and products accounted for 52 per cent of the country’s national domestic exports over the period. Products exported included: sauces and condiments; animal feed; juices; dairy products and eggs; alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; tobacco; limestone; and ethanol.
Mr. Evans pointed out that non-traditional food exports over the quarter yielded US$30.5 million ($2.7 billion), up from US$27.9 million ($2.3 billion).
He pointed to factors such as the global recession, the decline in major export markets, fierce competition and increased safety and security requirements to enter targeted and/or established markets, among the hurdles impacting local stakeholders over the past two years.
He said that the sector has the potential to earn much more, but is under threat as it struggles to maintain its market share, when it is not able to supply because of a shortage of local inputs and high duties to import raw material. The non-traditional sector is a major contributor to employment, accounting for over 77,000 jobs.
He said that the JEA is aware that, for the sector to be competitive, it will require working with all stakeholders, including JAMPRO and the International Trade Centre (ITC), to develop a National Export Strategy for Jamaica.
“We believe that the.strategy will help to strengthen Jamaica’s export thrust. We have assessed the value chains of the 80 priority sectors, and we are working to address the challenges identified,” he stated.
Mr. Evans re-affirmed the JEA’s commitment to working with the government and other stakeholders to realize Jamaica’s National Development Plan, to make it the place of choice for individuals to live, work, raise families and do business.
Additionally, he has also given the JEA’s undertaking to advance the primary objective of the Export Strategy, which is aimed at increasing the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) from one-fifth to one-third by 2013.
“The JEA is committed to working with the government and all stakeholders to achieve these objectives, as we believe that it is only through a vibrant export sector that Jamaica will emerge from its financial and social challenges,” Mr. Evans stated.

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