JP Farms exports first shipment of coconuts
JP Farms General Manager Mario Figueroa (right) and Crop Manager Tariq Kelly lift a bag of jelly coconuts reaped from the 50-acre farm in Annotto Bay, St Mary.

JP Farms, the agricultural subsidiary of Jamaica Producers Group, has shipped some 3,000 dry coconuts to Connecticut, United States, which are scheduled to arrive this week.

According to the company the shipment, which also includes Jamaica-grown green bananas, "marks a significant milestone for the conglomerate".

While JP Farms has sold its coconuts to local distributors of coconut water, the company has recently been exploring exportation of the crop. The company grows coconuts on over 1,000 trees on its 50-acre farm in Annotto Bay, St Mary.

"We are working on improving our coconut fields to increase our overall jelly production and the size and sweetness of the crop," JP Farms Pineapple and Coconut Manager Tariq Kelly explained.

Pallets of JP Farms coconuts ready for export to the United States.

With the improvement in production the company is aiming to meet both local and export demand. Currently it supplies the local market with between a 1,000 and 2,000 jelly coconuts weekly.

Last December the company told Jamaica Observer that it had sent a test shipment of jelly coconuts to a customer in Connecticut and that it has plans to expand the trade of the produce to other parts of North America, and other territories. At present the agricultural producer is in dialogue with its customers to export both jelly and dry coconuts, and remains open to opportunities. But, according to JP Farms Marketing Manager Gayon Douglas, there is "nothing concrete yet".

When asked if the company will be moving into bottled coconut water she told the Business Observer there are no plans at this time to do so.

In preparation for this new phase of exports JP Farms procured a coconut export licence from the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority in 2022.

WHITE...dry coconuts are not typically a fast-moving product, so we are not expecting orders to come in at the same rate as our banana export orders.

Commenting on the future exportation of coconuts from the company, JP Farms Commercial Manager Neleta White said, "We are awaiting feedback from our customer on the trade acceptance and rate of sale of the dry coconuts...dry coconuts are not typically a fast-moving product so we are not expecting orders to come in at the same rate as our banana export orders."

She, however, expressed optimism that the sale of the dry coconuts will open doors for jelly coconut exports, and shared that her team is eager to onboard new customers for the product. In fact, White confirmed that the exported coconuts will be distributed in stores throughout New York and Connecticut.

Still, the company acknowledges that the frequency of exportation of either dry or jelly coconuts to the US and elsewhere will depend on demand.

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