JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica is currently, for the first time, seeking certification for organic production, which will be internationally recognised.
  • The organic goods industry is a new and emerging niche market that Jamaica is seeking to access.
  • Certification would facilitate the international acceptance of Jamaican products, while showcasing products that are authentically Jamaican, and organically grown.

Jamaica is currently, for the first time, seeking certification for organic production, which will be internationally recognised.

This was disclosed by State Minister for Industry, Investment, and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, in her 2014/15 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on June 18, under the theme: ‘Facilitating the Growth of Industries’.

She noted that the organic goods industry is a new and emerging niche market that Jamaica is seeking to access.

“This certification would facilitate the international acceptance of Jamaican products, while showcasing products that are authentically Jamaican, and organically grown. Jamaica will be in a position to access our various niche markets in organic products, which includes our own bamboo charcoal,” the State Minister indicated.

Stakeholders in the local organic farming certification framework, she outlined, include: the Bureau of Standards, Jamaica (BSJ); Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement (JOAM); Plant Quarantine Unit under the Technical Services Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries; Pesticide Control Authority – Pesticide Residue Laboratory, University of the West Indies (UWI); and Fair Trading Commission (FTC).

“Under the Standards Act, the BSJ’s offerings of conformity assessment programmes could be expanded to include the certification of organic products.  Critical to the process, is the international recognition of the local competent authority, the acceptance of the standards to be used, as well as the competent inspectors in Jamaica,” Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams added.

Meanwhile, the State Minister also announced that the BSJ and JOAM, along with the Caribbean Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), have developed a “requisite standard” for organic farming.

This, she explained is based on the internationally recognised CODEX Alimentarius Commission document, ‘Guidelines for the Production, Processing, Labelling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods’.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1963, develops harmonised international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice to protect consumer health, and ensure fair practices in the food trade.

“The standard is in the final stage of approval at the regional level and will be submitted for approval at the next meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development COTED in November 2014. Thereafter, the document will be submitted nationally for BSJ’s Standards Council and Ministerial approval. The standards will be advanced nationally for the requisite approvals no later than June 30,” Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams advised.