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A number of Jamaican companies are experiencing a rise in the exportation of their products amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) congratulates manufacturers and exporters who have seized the opportunities that have arisen.

MICAF continues to work with our manufacturers and exporters to remove barriers, and strengthen the sector.

Since March, companies including Fleetwood and Quality Incorporations have helped to satisfy the increased demand of sanitisation and sanitation supplies in Aruba and the United States respectively.

State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) Floyd Green says, “As consumer activities change due to COVID 19, Jamaican businesses are now seeing a demand for their products in new markets, as well as a demand for new products in existing external markets. Our entrepreneurs have adjusted quickly and diversified their business to meet these demands.”

Despite the disruption in the supply chain, Jamaican companies have managed to penetrate regional markets; trading for the first time within a number of Caribbean countries. In the months of March, April and May, Seprod has exported flour and crackers to Dominica and Pioneer Manufacturing Distribution has exported bleach to the Cayman Islands.

“Pioneer had not distributed bleach to CI before; it was always the United States that had that market. So what they have done is expand their business operations to serve the new consumer needs there, and have been exporting their shipments with ease. This month we will also see seasoning and sauces being exported to Costa Rica by Spur Tree Spices and just today, Boss Furniture sent off one (1) of four (4) shipments for this month to the Caribbean”, Green continued.

Six (6) other companies, including Jamaica Teas which has exported teas and pantry items, have had increased demand from March to May for products in current and existing export markets in CARICOM, Canada, UK and the USA.

Over 10 companies have upcoming export orders to fulfil for the months of June/July in these major regions. This includes Home Choice exporting local ginger flavouring, lime juice and ginger beer to the USA.

“One of the most satisfying parts of these new trade operations is that over the last three (3) months, a significant amount of local products has replaced existing imported products in the domestic market. We have managed to replace hand sanitizer gel, rubbing alcohol, hard surface cleaner, hand washing soap, and bleach with locally produced products,” Minister Green stated.

This import/export performance supports the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) report of a 2.7% growth of the manufacturing sector the first quarter of the year.

The Minister has tasked Jamaica Promotions Corporations (JAMPRO) to continue to seek new markets and work with the JMEA to identify and dismantle barriers within the region.

The Ministry congratulates local exporters for seeing the value in our traditional exports like rum, banana and sugar, as well as our non-traditional exports, including animal feed, dairy products and bird’s eggs, and yams. This has resulted in non–traditional domestic exports earning US$63.4 million in January 2020; 24.7% increase when compared to a similar period in 2019.

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