Jamaica mango exports for hot water treatment

Business reporter

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) has begun accepting applications for consultancy services on the design of a mango hot water treatment plant at the Norman Manley International Airport.

The request for tender follows on announcements by Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw, that Jamaica has been granted approval by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, for the import of Jamaican mangoes into the US. The approval, however, comes with strict food safety measures that the Government must abide by to eliminate disease-carrying bacteria.

“A critical element of this is to facilitate and initiate the setting up of a modular hot water treatment facility at the Export Complex, Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica. This would treat shipments intended for the EU market, though it would be constructed with the capability to meet the requirements of the US markets as well,” MICAF said in its request.

Hot water treatment is a common method applied at the beginning of the packaging process of mangoes. The treatment helps to eliminate major post-harvest diseases including mango anthracnose, which threatens mango export and consumption.

Shaw, who was reassigned to MICAF last year, announced plans to establish a 500-hectare agro park in St Catherine and Clarendon for the cultivation of mangoes for export to the United States, as part of plans to develop the industry.

According to Shaw, it is estimated that the island can export about 261 metric tonnes of mangoes annually to the US, thereby increasing employment numbers and foreign exchange earnings from non-traditional exports, which up to 2016 was tracking closely behind traditional exports of the country.

Through the build out of the hot water treatment facility, the Government agencies hope to influence and fast-track the return of Jamaican mangoes to the diaspora market in the US and is also looking to capitalise on demand in the European Union markets.

Furthermore, the reopening of the Jampro office in New York, US, last September is expected to facilitate entry for the Jamaican fruit.

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