JIS News

Global trade partners can now be further assured of the quality of Jamaica’s agricultural produce, with the development of a procedures manual, which standardizes the measures for the certification and inspection of imported and exported produce.
The document, which was done by the Mona Institute of Applied Sciences at a cost of US$75,000, also deals with pest risk assessment.
Agriculture Minister, Roger Clarke, who yesterday (Aug. 4) handed over the manual to the Plant Quarantine/Produce Inspection Unit at the Knutsford Court Hotel, said that the methodologies used in its development were in keeping with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) sanitary and phytosanitary agreement and the International Plant Protection Convention, and would impact on the country’s ability to trade.
He noted also, that the manual came at an opportune time, when the global focus was on ensuring that food being traded was safe and did not cause harm to plant, animal or human health.
“The use of the manual will ensure that Jamaica’s inspection procedures are in conformity with international standards and will send a signal to trading partners that we are committed to ensuring that appropriate systems are implemented as we seek to take our position in the global marketplace,” he stated.
The Ministry’s Plant Quarantine/Produce Inspection Unit has direct responsibility for the certification and inspection of imported and exported plants, plants parts, seeds, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
“This unit is to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of regulated pests in Jamaica as per the provisions of the Plant Quarantine Act of 1993. It also supports the access of Jamaican agricultural produce to foreign markets through the certification of phytosanitary status in conformity with the requirements of the importing country,” the Minister informed.
Some of the specific services provided by the unit include: providing assurance to importing countries that consignments exported from Jamaica are free from pest of quarantine; operating a pre clearance facility with the United States Department of Agriculture to fast track the entry of fresh produce into the United States; operating state of the art export complexes at both international airports where all the services related to the export of fresh produce are offered; and promoting safe trade by creating awareness among customers.
The unit also undertakes surveys to regulate, control, contain or eradicate pests and performs pest risk analysis to establish the phytosanitary requirements for the importation of plants, plant products and regulated articles in accordance with the phytosanitary situation in the countries of origin.