Jamaican bananas re-enter British market
JAMAICAN bananas have re-entered the British market some six years after the cessation of export to that country following the devastating effects of several hurricanes on the sector and changes in the preferential agreement with the United Kingdom.
Minister of Agriculture Roger Clarke said the first shipment of the fruit, weighing 2,000 pounds arrived in the UK last Thursday and it is expected that another shipment will leave the island today.
The minister made this announcement yesterday at his ministry's Hope Gardens headquarters during a ceremony to launch the ministry's Export Market Platform and sign five contracts for infrastructure works at four of the island's agro-parks, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Clarke explained that the shipment of bananas will continue weekly up to the end of August and that the UK buyer would arrive in Jamaica by this month end to negotiate long-term contracts for importing Jamaican bananas into Britain.
He identified the resumption of the banana trade as one of the first results of the recently launched Export Market Platform aimed at linking farmers with buyers in a structured and organised way as part of the ministry's efforts to boost exports and increase production in the agricultural sector.
According to Clarke, the ministry has been primarily targeting the UK market through the forging of linkages with the Fresh Produce Consortium. A team from the ministry along with farmers and exporters attended the London Produce Show as guests of the Fresh Produce Consortium resulting in transactions to supply sweet potato, yam, St Julian mangoes, ginger, Moringa, castor oil, a variety of herbs and spices and a range of fruits to that market.
The Jamaican team, he said, is also following leads with several UK and European buyers for the supply of Jamaican produce.
"Now that we have found the markets our strategy is to organise the agro-parks and mobilise farmers in these agro-parks to supply the produce," the minister said.
Five contracts, totalling more than $501 million were signed at the event for the implementation of infrastructure works at the Spring Plain/Ebony Park, New Forest/Duff House and Yallahs Agro-parks.