JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Mr. Freckleton argues that in making the most of the plants with established medicinal properties, the ganja plant should not be isolated from other plants but should instead be “put in one basket, and have them implemented by our best minds.”
  • The Prime Minister, while delivering the keynote address at the launch of the NNI, recently at Hope Zoo, in St. Andrew, asserts that she was a firm supporter of the Nutraceutical Industry in Jamaica.
  • For President of the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ), Hugh Johnson, he says the industry is an opportunity for the small business sector to grow and if properly harnessed, can provide a lot benefit for individuals and for the wider economy.

The recently launched National Nutraceutical Industry (NNI), by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, is being hailed by industry players as a major opening up of opportunities for small entrepreneurs.

For generations, persons have had various forms of fledging enterprises stocked with products made from indigenous plants, with claims of health benefits.

The products, according to experts, generally are in need of standardization, testing, monitoring and quality assurance for public safety, as well as efficacy standards for the export market.

The National Commission on Science and Technology, which has as its Director General, Jamaican Scientist, Professor Errol Morrison, and with a mandate from the Prime Minister, has set up a steering committee that has been working to develop the industry to meet global market standards and demands.

“I believe that this is going to open a new door in our economic history,” states Managing Director of the St. Elizabeth based Jamaica Exotic Flavours and Essences (JEFE), Anthony Freckleton.

Mr. Freckleton argues that in making the most of the plants with established medicinal properties, the ganja plant should not be isolated from other plants but should instead be “put in one basket, and have them implemented by our best minds.”

“There is a role for everyone, and the health and wellness programme has a tourism component, so there will be opportunities at various levels, and we need to get more biochemists in the system so that we can have more analysis of what we have. I congratulate (the Prime Minister) for making it happen, and make no mistake about it, if it weren’t for her, it would not have happened this year,” Mr. Freckleton says.

 

The Prime Minister, while delivering the keynote address at the launch of the NNI, recently at Hope Zoo, in St. Andrew, asserts that she was a firm supporter of the Nutraceutical Industry in Jamaica.

“My firm belief in, and unshakeable support for this industry is anchored in the view that it has the potential to transform the fortunes of our economy and society,” she says, while naming some of the natural sources that Jamaica must utilize for increased economic benefits.

“Nutraceuticals are from food sources with extra health benefits. They also include medicinal plants and natural mineral water. We have several sources of mineral water here in Jamaica.The healing powers of our waters at Bath in St Thomas, Milk River in Clarendon, and Rockfort in Kingston, have already been established. These must be the foundation of a revitalized Wellness Industry,” Mrs. Simpson Miller adds.

For President of the Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ), Hugh Johnson, he says the industry is an opportunity for the small business sector to grow and if properly harnessed, can provide a lot benefit for individuals and for the wider economy.

Mr. Johnson adds that the rules being put in place are to ensure that standards are maintained and adhered to by producers.

“If we abide by them, it can revolutionize the small business sector. Small business owners can develop their products, and be a micro-cosmism of the whole expansion. We see it as a glorious opportunity, and we are on board,” Mr. Johnson states.

Of the 160 plants declared as having medicinal properties worldwide, there are over 80 that are endemic to Jamaica.

The plants have been used for prevention and healing of diseases, and ailments. Information for the usage of the plants has come mainly from folklore, and the practice has fuelled growth for a Nutraceutical industry, as many countries are looking to natural sources of medicine for their population.

 

Mr. Anthony Freckleton who exudes confidence in Jamaica being able to develop natural products for health issues, says his company now has a product that “controls blood pressure, diabetes, and sinusitis,” noting that it has gone through all the clinical testing that is required.

“If the scientific institutions in this country, partner with the farming community, the Ministry of Health and the Bureau of Standards, it can result in a major shift in the health of our population,” Mr. Freckleton asserts.

Giving the Ministry of Health’s endorsement for the NNI, Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kevin Harvey, states that Jamaica has a large reserve of natural resources of plants that are known to have healing and other properties, and “if navigated adequately, can have economic, social and health benefits.

“Jamaica has several types of plants  herbs and natural waters with mineral reserves that are only found here; this means that there is great economic potential in such an industry, so we need to promote and get our people involved in developing our natural health products,” the Permanent Secretary states.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Mining and Energy, Hon. Julian Robinson, says the development of the NNI is a push to expand the “use of, and access to new and appropriate technology by Jamaicans,” which is crucial to the country’s progress.

With the global Nutraceutical industry set to worth US$600 billion by 2018, Research Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Dr. Lisa Myers Brown, says Jamaica is well positioned in terms of products, space, land, techniques, and high quality raw materials for the development of the industry, and to offer opportunities to farmers.

Sine the launch of the NNI, the steering committee has moved to ensure that products adhere to national and international industry best practices, and standards, so that Jamaicans can benefit from the wealth in the industry.