Big potential for Jamaican mangoes and patties in US market -- Moreno

Exports must meet US standards

BY VERNON DAVIDSON Executive editor - publications

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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JAMAICA'S potential to increase exports to the United States is getting serious attention from the American Embassy in Kingston, according to Ambassador Luis Moreno.

The US ambassador, who started his tour of duty here only six months ago, said he and his team are actively pushing Jamaican exports as the volume, he believes, can be "much more" than the approximately 40 per cent at which it now stands.

"We think that there's [US]$5 billion worth of money that comes to Jamaica from the US from remittances, from the toursts who come here, from trade, but that could be much more," Ambassador Moreno told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.

Moreno pointed to mangoes and beef patties as two items from Jamaica that could do well in the US market.

"Mangoes grow everywhere in Jamaica," he noted, adding that exports of the fruit would need an irradiation treatment that would meet United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) requirements.

"We've brought experts here to explain to the Ministry of Agriculture what needs to be done, and if they can follow those simple steps you can be exporting a tremendous amount of mangoes to the US," Moreno told the Business Observer.

He said his embassy has also been making efforts to get Jamaican beef patties to meet US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) standards, as the product, along with others, would get into that market duty-free.

Yesterday, Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA) President Brian Pengelley pointed out that the effort to get patties exported to the US has been ongoing for some time.

"We don't have a USFDA-approved lab in Jamaica... so certainly we would very much support any help that they can give to that [effort]," said Pengelley, whose four-year term as JMA persident ends today.

"I know that mango export has great potential in the United States," he added.

He agreed with Ambassador Moreno that Jamaica could increase exports and pointed to the JMA's linkages programme as an avenue to get local products into overseas markets.

Under the programme, the association's members' products are promoted to the tourism industry and meetings are organised between buyers and suppliers.

According to the Economic and Social Survey. Jamaica's total exports for the year 2014 were valued at US$1.4 billion, compared to US$1.5 billion in 2013 and US$1.7 billion in 2012.

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