JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says Jamaica is poised to gain a significant share of the fast growing global nutraceutical industry, which is estimated at US$270 billion.
  • The Prime Minister was delivering the keynote address at the launch of the National Nutraceutical Industry, at the Hope Zoo in St. Andrew, on March 5.
  • The global nutraceutical industry is considered one of the fastest growing sectors worldwide. It is projected that by 2018, the sector will be worth US$600 billion with the opening of the Asian markets.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says Jamaica is poised to gain a significant share of the fast growing global nutraceutical industry, which is estimated at US$270 billion.

“I am a firm supporter of the nutraceutrical industry in Jamaica. My firm belief in, and unshakable support for this industry, is anchored in the view that it has the potential to transform the fortunes of our economy and society,” she said.

The Prime Minister was delivering the keynote address at the launch of the National Nutraceutical Industry, at the Hope Zoo in St. Andrew, on March 5.

The global nutraceutical industry is considered one of the fastest growing sectors worldwide. It is projected that by 2018, the sector will be worth US$600 billion with the opening of the Asian markets.

Mrs. Simpson Miller pointed out that with the recent thrust to develop the local nutraceutical sector, the possible economic benefits for Jamaica are tremendous.

“Thousands of new jobs can be created through mass cultivation and employment in labs and processing plants. There is the potential for increased revenue from greater earning power of new workers and there will be more foreign exchange through greater exports and the development of medical tourism,” she noted.

Citing Jamaica’s rich tradition in folk medicine and its abundance of plants with proven medicinal properties, Mrs. Simpson Miller said there is no reason why the country cannot attract significant investments in this area.

Declaring that the country is “sitting on a gold mine,” she informed that of the 160 plants declared as having medicinal properties worldwide, there are over 80 that are endemic to Jamaica.

Mrs. Simpson Miller said with this in mind, her administration will be moving in a serious way to develop the local nutraceutrical industry, noting that this will form an integral part of a national strategic approach for ensuring economic growth, development, and job creation.

She pointed out that the National Commission on Science and Technology has been charged with the mandate to regularise and develop a sustainable nutraceutical industry in Jamaica.

“Today’s launch heralds the start of a system to encourage, regulate and monitor production locations, processes, and products to ensure that they meet national and international standards,” the Prime Minister said.

Mrs. Simpson Miller  emphasised that moving forward, Jamaica must attract and engage large investors to maximise the wealth potential of the industry, adding that the National Nutraceutical Industry, through a Board, will facilitate, nurture, monitor, assist, and empower businesses, large and small, in realising the tremendous potential of the sector.

“We want to move from the production of samples, to large scale operations,” she said.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister hailed the work of local scientists, such as Dr. Henry Lowe, Dr. Manley West, and Dr. Albert Lockhart, for their pioneering role in the nutraceutical business and their enormous contributions to Jamaica.

She also commended Professor Errol Morrison, the University of Technology, and the University of West Indies, for invaluable scientific research.

Mrs. Simpson Miller further called for more Jamaicans to invest and participate in the growing sector.

She said the government is working to include all stakeholders, and informed that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed with the Jamaica 4-H Clubs to involve some 8,500 youth in the sector.

“The partnership in its initial stage will focus on the establishment of green houses and gardens and strengthening 4-H programmes within some institutions,” the Prime Minister explained.