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The Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA) is targeting the agro-processing subsector as part of measures to boost the country’s exports and enhance gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

Executive Director of the entity, Imega Breese McNab, said that players in the agro-processing industry represent the largest cohort of the JMEA membership, “so we see this as a huge potential where we need to improve the linkages between agriculture and the manufacturing sectors, so that we can have higher value-added growth in Jamaica”.

“We… need to improve our exports from Jamaica, and this [agro-processing] is one of the subsectors that can do that,” she added.

She cited opportunity to tap into the Haitian market, which imports approximately US$2 billion worth of goods and is one of Jamaica’s closest neighbours.

Mrs. Breese McNab was speaking at a forum on ‘Business and Trading Opportunities for the Regional Agri-Food Private Sector’ hosted by the JMEA, at its offices in downtown Kingston on Wednesday (January 23).

Representatives from various Caribbean territories were in attendance, networking and sharing their experiences, challenges, and suggestions in boosting regional trade.

The session included presentations on the topics ‘Targeting the European Union Market via the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)’; ‘Revisiting the CARICOM Market, Hurdling the Barriers’; ‘Proposals for the Removal of Non-Tariff Barriers’; and ‘Strategies for Improving Transportation and Logistics’.

Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) representative from St. Lucia, Allister Glean, said he was pleased to participate in the event and to discuss the issues that impede regional trade.

Mr. Glean commended the work of the JMEA in Jamaica, and committed to help foster linkages among Caribbean territories to boost opportunities for trade.