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The Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA) is reporting that members are having success on the local and export market since the COVID-9 outbreak in March.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw, said based on a report from the JMEA, listing some 20 Jamaican companies, the country has been able to replace some imported products, such as hand sanitisers, with locally made brands.

Also, several companies have recorded increased exports to both traditional and new markets in the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States (US) and several Caribbean countries.

“Their necessity has mothered our invention, and exports of goods ranging from sanitisers, cleaning agents, toilet paper, spices and seasoning, bananas, cakes, flour, ackee, dasheen, unsweetened biscuits and flavoured milk, have recorded notable increases,” Mr. Shaw said.

He was making his contribution to the 2020/21 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 16.

The Minister informed that the value of exports to the US increased by $616 million to $5.1 billion during the January to May 2020 period, up from $4.5 billion in the same period in 2019.

In addition, the total value of manufacturing exports by JMEA members for the period January to May 2020 was $12.6 billion, which represents a $74-million increase over the similar period in 2019.

“These kinds of export cannot stop. And for that reason, in spite of COVID-19, this mango season, we have started our mango exports to the US, shipping some 3,500 kilogrammes to Florida and New York last week,” Mr. Shaw said.

Meanwhile, under the US$4.4-million Government of Jamaica Agricultural Competitiveness Programme Bridging Project, the Ministry has started the first phase of establishment of a 1,200-acre mango orchard on the plains of Clarendon for export.

“This is a part of the process for the encouragement of major investments in the development of orchards such as avocado, ackee, coconuts, June plum, soursop, pomegranate and pineapples as raw material for processing into purees and concentrates to replace imports,” Mr. Shaw said.

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