JAMPRO calls for more export of tropical fruits

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Sales and Promotions Manager, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Marlene Porter, is encouraging more Jamaicans to plant and export tropical fruits, as the demand for these products are on the rise.

Speaking at JAMPRO's Agricultural Information Forum, which was held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew last Tuesday, Porter said there are attractive agricultural investment opportunities available in the country regarding tropical fruits, as they are no longer being referred to as niche products overseas.

She argued that Jamaicans can benefit from exporting tropical fruits in a major way, especially if they take advantage of opportunities now, adding that it will also reduce the imports of fruits and increase the gross domestic product (GDP).

“We're seeing an uptick in the consumption and demand of these kinds of products, and this is happening primarily because of the higher incomes that we are seeing, not just the developed countries, but even in developing countries like India. Persons are seeking to eat healthier and are taking on health foods,” Porter said.

She noted that First-World countries are among the greatest demanders for tropical fruits in recent months, as their citizens are becoming more health conscious.

“The growth in tropical fruits has outpaced the growth for most other internationally traded goods that we have seen, such as cereal and sugar. We're talking about mangoes, pineapples, papaya and avocado. These are not strange products to us. They're right next door to us; many of them are in our backyards,” Porter said.

She said the improvement in Jamaica's export infrastructure is to be applauded for the increase in demand for the tropical fruits.

“Both production and export have been expanding as we seek to meet these additional demands. The fact that we have the distribution systems and delivery systems improved as well, makes it easier for our products to reach these markets,” she added.

The forum was aimed at emphasising the Government's commitment to supporting the growth of the sector, and demonstrated how private-sector companies are successfully employing innovative approaches, such as anchor farms/contract farming, to grow their businesses.

The forum also addressed other related matters, including financing options for agricultural activities, traditional and non-traditional crop opportunities, land availability and suitability issues, marketing of agricultural products locally and overseas, and Government initiatives and programmes to support agriculture, such as agro parks and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) support for farmers.




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