Fresh Produce Exports Earn US$78 Million Annually

The average annual export of Jamaica’s fresh produce industry is approximately 34.5 million kilograms (kg), with estimated earnings of US$78.32 million.

Currently, Jamaica exports to more than 30 countries worldwide, with the United States of America (USA), Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Cayman Islands being the most important markets for Jamaican produce.

“Yam export is a significant contributor to this figure, with an average export of approximately 14.24 million kg and estimated earnings of US$36.74 million,” Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. noted during a Plant Quarantine Exporters’ Forum held on February 14 at the Ministry’s offices in Kingston.

He said for 2022, more than 15 million kg of fresh produce was exported to the USA, valued at J$40.4 million, followed by Canada with exports of over 4.325 million kg, valued at approximately J$11.1 million.

Mr. Charles Jr. said Jamaica has been able to withstand and overcome trade issues that threaten to cripple the country’s market share.

These issues, he said, include the rejection of containers due to pesticide residues, rejection at the export and import control points because of quarantine pest findings, and even detention of shipments due to grading and labeling requirements.

“Our exporters were able to survive these issues, come out stronger and have since been able to continue the trade,” the Minister said.

Mr. Charles Jr. said the players in the industry have also exhibited much creativity by expanding the trade of non-traditional export crops and finding unique ways to package their products to meet new market demands, along with the prevention of post-harvest loss.

“For example, the wrapping of breadfruits with paper and using post-harvest solutions to prevent ripening; sending sugar cane in bundles and finding an approved post-harvest cocktail fungicide solution that prevents fungal decay,” he added.

The Minister further noted that Jamaica has distinguished itself in the marketplace, with the country’s agricultural produce being well respected for its unique flavor profiles and superior quality.

“The fact is Brand Jamaica is loved by many, and at the same time it is envied by many,” Mr. Charles Jr. said.

Source — JIS

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Edited by Jesus Chan

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