JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller has pointed to significant possible economic benefits from the development of the nutraceutical industry in Jamaica.
  • Mrs. Simpson Miller was speaking at the formal launch of the industry at Hope Gardens on Thursday, March 5.
  • The Prime Minister outlined that thousands of new jobs can be created through mass cultivation and employment in labs and processing plants.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller has pointed to significant possible economic benefits from the development of the nutraceutical industry in Jamaica. Mrs. Simpson Miller was speaking at the formal launch of the industry at Hope Gardens on Thursday, March 5.

The Prime Minister outlined that thousands of new jobs can be created through mass cultivation and employment in labs and processing plants, noting that there is the potential for increased revenue from the greater earning power of new workers. Mrs. Simpson Miller also pointed out that “there will be more foreign exchange through greater exports and the development of medical tourism.”

It is against that background that the Prime Minister said that her Administration has moved to formalize and support the industry. “This is an integral part of a national strategic approach for ensuring economic growth, development and job creation.” In this regard, the National Commission on Science & Technology is leading an effort to regularize and develop a sustainable industry.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller also revealed that an Industry board will work to facilitate, nurture, monitor, assist and empower small and large businesses to realize the remarkable potential. She emphasized that all the relevant government agencies must adopt a streamlined and focused approach to providing assistance and support to the industry. These agencies include the Scientific Research Council, Government Chemist, the intellectual Property Office, the Business Development Corporation, the Bureau of Standards and JAMPRO. “We must examine the existing institutions and reposition them to be responsive to the needs of this non-traditional industry,” Mrs. Simpson Miller added.

The Prime Minister also informed that a partnership was being established with the Jamaica 4H Movement to engage the country’s youth. “Some 85,000 young people in 4H Clubs across the country will benefit from the opportunities along the value chain,” the Prime Minister said. The partnership will focus on the establishment of green houses and gardens and strengthening 4H programmes within some correctional institutions.

With the launch, Jamaica will be joining more than 50 countries that officially recognize nutraceuticals as a national industry. In fact, the launch represents the start of a new system to encourage, regulate and monitor production locations, processes and products to ensure that they meet national and international standards.

The Prime Minister commended Professor Errol Morrison and Dr. Henry Lowe for the groundbreaking work they have already done to enhance the development of the industry. She also recognized the practitioners and stakeholders who have pushed ahead despite the odds.

The global nutraceutical industry is projected to be valued at $600 billion by 2018. Notably, there are 160 plants known and declared worldwide as having medicinal properties. Of that number 86 are endemic to Jamaica.