JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, is looking to take advantage of the high demand for local fresh produce in the United Kingdom (UK) to increase exports to that market.
  • The development comes out of a recent visit by a 15-member delegation led by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, to the New Covent Garden Market in London, to explore opportunities for Jamaican produce in the UK.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, is looking to take advantage of the high demand for local fresh produce in the United Kingdom (UK) to increase exports to that market.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, is looking to take advantage of the high demand for local fresh produce in the United Kingdom (UK) to increase exports to that market.

The development comes out of a recent visit by a 15-member delegation led by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, to the New Covent Garden Market in London, to explore opportunities for Jamaican produce in the UK.

During the tour, the Jamaicans were told of the strength of Brand Jamaica in the UK and the huge demand for Jamaican produce by the food service sector.

Minister Kellier, in expressing optimism at the possibilities, said “once the connections can be made, we can put a lot of farmers to work in Jamaica.”

“There are lots of fruits sold on this market that we can produce in Jamaica. The fruits we grow have a higher level of flavour and quality than those grown elsewhere because of our climate and our soils,” he said.

“This visit will allow us to go back to Jamaica and explore with our own farmers the opportunities to get into this market,” he added.

The Jamaicans were hosted by Director of Business Development and Support at Covent Garden Market Authority, Helen Evans; Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) Chief Executive, Nigel Jenney; and Head of Agriculture at QV Foods, and FPC Executive, Chris Marshall.

They visited several traders in the market such as P&I Fruits, French Garden and Bevington Salads, and were shown the banana holding rooms at Premier Fruits.

Paul Emmett of P&I Fruits, who addressed the group, said “there is a market here for anything from Jamaica. People identify with ‘Brand Jamaica’ they know they will get good quality and on a regular basis.”

Mr. Jenny, in his remarks, said the strength of the national brand should not be underestimated.

“We have seen that in the food service sector there is tremendous interest in Brand Jamaica. Every trader we have spoken to here today is interested in trading with Brand Jamaica and you should not underestimate the importance of that. What you need to do is keep in control of plant health issues, and if you really want to break into the UK market, GlobalGAP is an absolute minimum requirement,” he advised.

GlobalGAP is an internationally recognised set of farm standards dedicated to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).

During the tour, the delegation also heard of possibilities for increased banana and mango exports.

Marketing Consultant with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Dr. Derrick Deslandes, pointed out that there are already links being forged to supply specific melon varieties to the UK.

Vice President for Export and Market Development at JAMPRO, Robert Scott, said there is an opening for ginger from Jamaica.

“Something we do very well in Jamaica are public/private partnerships…what we have seen with our visit to New Covent Garden today and to New Spitalfields in November is that there is an absence of Jamaican products for the food service sector and this is a clear opportunity for Jamaica,” he said.

The Jamaican delegation also included Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry; General Manager of the Jamaica Banana Board, Janet Conie; Manager of the Banana Accompanying Measures Programme, Shaun Baugh; Growers/exporters Noel Clarke, Tekka Dellop, Leonard Green, Dennis Buddoo; UK importer Noel Dempster of Ashanti Drinks; and officials from the Kingston and London JAMPRO offices.

New Covent Garden Market is the largest wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower market in the UK. Located in South West London, the market covers a site of 57 acres (23 hectares) and is home to approximately 200 fruit, vegetable and flower companies.

The market provides ingredients to many of London’s top restaurants, hotels, schools, prisons, hospitals and catering businesses.

 

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