Jamaican exporters target Central American markets ahead of Panama Canal expansion

Jamaican exporters target Central American markets ahead of Panama Canal expansion


AS the expansion of the Panama Canal continues, Jamaican businesses are currently attending Central America's largest trade show in Panama in an effort to promote exports to that region.

Jamaica Promotions corporation (JAMPRO) is leading a team of Jamaican companies to the Exposición Comercial Internacional (EXPOCOMER), which started on Wednesday and will end tomorrow. Expocomer provides access to thousands of people from more than 30 countries who are seeking products to procure for their market, the release said.

The delegation includes GK Foods and Services, P.A. Benjamin Manufacturing Ltd, LASCO Manufacturing Limited, E.G. Wellness Brands and GulfRay Americas Manufacturing

JAMPRO hopes the Panamanian visit will help to land trade leads and increase awareness of Jamaican products, according to a news release.

"The market is quite lucrative and is predicted to see great economic growth upon the expansion of the Panama Canal," said the JAMPRO news release.

GK Foods is seeking to increase its sales of hot pepper products to the Central American market, according to Taji Alleyne, general manager at Grace Agro Processors Division. "GK Foods & Services is dedicated to bringing the authentic Jamaican scotch bonnet flavour to global markets. Expocomer will give us the chance to promote our pepper mash products 'Real Jamaican Scotchie' to Latin America, which has a palate that is similar to our own," he said.

Meanwhile, LASCO is looking to expand its business from its Panamanian markets. "LASCO has been exporting to Panama for several years, and we would like to increase our business in that market," according to LASCO export sales and marketing manager Marjorie McCalla. "Our main objective in attending Expocomer is to identify distributors in Panama and other Central and Latin American countries. We look forward to establishing great business relationships at this event."

JAMPRO says it is aggressively pursuing Latin American markets for the export of Jamaican goods. Last year, the agency partnered with the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA) to host an "Exporting to Panama" workshop. Based on the interest from exporters and the agency's mandate to target Central America, the market and trade visit to Panama was organised.

JAMPRO has also recently started a Cuban market development programme, to increase export of Jamaican goods to the Cuban market.

"There are untapped opportunities for exporting to Central America, especially those markets which are experiencing increased economic activity," said Berletta Henlon-Forrester, market development manager at JAMPRO . "JAMPRO is encouraged by the level of interest shown by Jamaican manufacturers and will continue to develop this market for export of Jamaican products."

Published Date: 
Friday, March 13, 2015