This comes as the Ministry seeks to maximize the opportunities being provided under the USDA’s pre-clearance facility, which currently provides Jamaica with pre-clearance to export some 52 fruits and crops to the United States.
These include breadfruit, calalloo, pineapple, strawberries, and guineps, which were shortlisted prior to 2014, when the facility was extended to incorporate mangoes.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the Ministry is currently “moving apace,” under its Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification Programme, to institute measures conforming to export/import requirements for mangoes under the facility. The varieties targeted include: East Indian, St. Julian, and Number Eleven.
Mr. Kellier was addressing Tuesday’s (June 2) opening ceremony for the Ministry’s Plant Quarantine Division’s exporters’ forum, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in New Kingston.
GLOBALGAP is an internationally recognized set of farm standards, and through certification, producers demonstrate their adherence to them.
Noting that the Ministry has sought the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) assistance in “determining the way forward” in relation to US mango exports, Mr. Kellier advised that a technical cooperation plan has been developed, targeting specific engagements.
These include: conducting a market analysis, indicating both domestic and export potential; conducting a value chain analysis, to make an evidence-based determination of the feasibility for upgrading the value chain; undertaking a feasibility study for hot water quarantine treatment, and preparatory work to establish the quarantine protocol, based on the USDA’s Systems Approach, once the sector is deemed viable; and developing a mango value chain development and upgrading strategy.
“A stakeholders’ consultation was held in May 2015, and the final report will be ready by mid June 2015. This is an opportunity for the establishment of large acreages of mango orchard,” the Minister noted.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kellier urged local exporters to collaborate with the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry, particularly the Plant Quarantine and Produce Branch, to take advantage of the opportunities to export more of the other fruits and crops on the USDA pre-clearance facility list.
He expressed concern that while there are 52 varieties of produce, “we are currently only supplying less than a quarter of the designated list of items.”
“There are opportunities here, and Jamaica needs to take advantage of these provisions which facilitate the speedy export of these non-traditional commodities,” Mr. Kellier said, adding that “in our agro-parks, we are also targeting non-traditional produce, including sweet potatoes, melon, oranges and pineapples, in our certification programme.”
The forum formed part of week-long activities to commemorate Plant Quarantine Week, from May 30 to June 5, under the theme: ‘Plant Quarantine: Facilitating Trade…Securing Jamaica’s Agriculture’.
Participants included representatives of several stakeholder groups in the agricultural sector, including: Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO); Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA); the Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA); fresh produce exporters; and airlines.
The Plant Quarantine Division, which falls under the Ministry of Agriculture, is responsible for leading Jamaica’s first line of defence against the introduction of exotic pests and diseases.
The unit is mandated to ensure that only highest quality, pest free cut flowers and fresh produce are exported from, and imported into the island.