One of life's important lessons is that out of adversity often comes opportunity, a clear case being the news that overseas distributors are buying up jerk sauce to satisfy Jamaicans locked up in foreign jails.
Another important lesson from that story - one that we frequently seem to lose sight of - is that other countries often recognise the value of our brand and take advantage of it, sometimes more quickly than we do. Do we need to mention what is happening with our reggae music?
According to Friday's edition of our Caribbean Business Report (CBR), suppliers to foreign prisons are grabbing up Jamaican jerk sauces to meet the demand from the high population of incarcerated Jamaicans abroad.
The report quotes marketing consultant Ms Virginia Burke, who addressed last week's Jamaica Exporters' Association packaging and labelling workshop, as saying that this is big business.
Ms Burke, who is the author of two Caribbean cookbooks — Eat Caribbean and Walkerswood Caribbean Kitchen — noted that local companies do not supply the prisons directly but receive bulk orders from overseas distributors who, in turn, resell to the caterers, mainly in the United Kingdom.
The Caribbean Business Report also quoted Mr Ian Garbutt, managing director of Associated Manufacturers, producers of Walkerswood and Busha Browne, as saying that a Jamaican-owned franchise based in the United States supplies prisons with meals twice a week.
But of critical note to us is that the investor, after approaching local suppliers, in the end chose a cheaper sauce supplier in Costa Rica. Surely, the lesson here cannot be lost on us. Production costs have to become more competitive.
At a time when we are desperate for lucrative export opportunities, this may be one area in which we could have a greater presence in the international market. The point was made that while the jerk sauces were initially for the Jamaican prisoners, other inmates were also enjoying them. Hospitals were also buying them.
The latest Economic and Social Survey Jamaica reported that export earnings in sauces continued to grow last year - 16 per cent year-on-year to US$14.5 million ($1.5b), surpassing earnings from coffee, ackee, non-alcoholic drinks and baked products.
It is obvious that there is great potential for an increase in export output. But this is not going to be achieved by well-wishing. A concerted effort must be made to achieve lower production costs.
In this regard, we are taking serious interest in the announcement by the Jamaica Public Service that it has partnered with a United States firm to provide solar power to Jamaica. This could be good news for manufacturers beset by skyrocketing energy costs.
It should also be of interest to note another aspect of the CBR report — dubious as that may be — which highlights the strength of the Jamaican culture in the UK prison system, to the effect that, earlier this year, imprisoned dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel was named the second most requested artiste among British prison inmates.
The list, which is topped by deceased American rapper Tupac Shakur, features other Jamaican acts such as Gyptian (10th), Jah Cure (11th), Bob Marley (14th) and Mavado (18th), according to a National Prison Radio (NPR) 2012 playlist.