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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has re-launched the ‘Don’t Pack a Pest’ campaign, as part of efforts to prevent possible introduction of pests and diseases to Jamaica.
  • This engagement aims to heighten public awareness about the items that are prohibited for cross border travel.
  • The Ministry is collaborating with the United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Inspection Health Service (USDA-APHIS), and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Plant Industry, to undertake the initiative.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has re-launched the ‘Don’t Pack a Pest’ campaign, as part of efforts to prevent possible introduction of pests and diseases to Jamaica which could potentially harm the country’s agricultural sector and natural resources.

This engagement aims to heighten public awareness about the items that are prohibited for cross border travel.

The Ministry is collaborating with the United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Inspection Health Service (USDA-APHIS), and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Plant Industry, to undertake the initiative.

The campaign, which was first launched in 2011 in Florida and subsequently extended to Jamaica in 2012, informs travellers about the importance of declaring agricultural items they may carrying, and enlightens them about those that are prohibited from entry into Jamaica.

Among the prohibited from entering without the requisite permit are: fresh fruits and vegetables; plants in soil; cooked and uncooked meats; and live animals, or animal products.

Speaking at the recent re-launching ceremony at Donald Quarrie High School in Harbour View, St. Andrew, State Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Labour, and Social Security, Hon. Luther Buchanan, noted that Jamaica is the first Caribbean country to partner with the United States on the initiative, spearheaded by the state of Florida.

This, he added, speaks to the priority importance the Government of Jamaica places on ensuring that the country’s agricultural sector is not destroyed through any unwitting or deliberate introduction pests and diseases.

“Jamaica (and the United States, particularly) Florida are particularly vulnerable to new pest introductions due to the high level of trade and the significant number of tourists (who) travel between both countries. It is (therefore) in both countries interests to ensure the expansion and success of this programme; and so I welcome this collaboration” Mr. Buchanan said.

Preventative measures put in place to enhance border control includes the posting of 600 signs at the Kingston and Montego Bay Airports in Jamaica,  as well as 50 of the major ports of entry in Florida and the Caribbean.

A team from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is currently conducting an audit of the programme in Jamaica to evaluate its performance.

The ‘Don’t Pack a Pest’ campaign has also been introduced to several other Caribbean countries, namely the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, and Panama.

Information outlining travel guidelines for prohibited items can be viewed at: www.dontpackapest.com.