US grants $20 m to support local spice industry
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr (left), listens to United States Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Nick Perry, during the diplomat’s visit to the Ministry’s off. Photo: JIS

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaica’s spice industry is to be amplified by a US$20-million grant from the United States (US), through its Department of Agriculture, over the course of five years.

The grant will be disbursed under the ‘Food for Progress’ programme and comes against the background of exponential growth of the spice industry in the US, especially as it concerns ginger, turmeric and pimento.

The initiative will, therefore, target the marketing and development of products (such as packaging) and will promote sustainable and climate-friendly farming to yield best results.

Jamaica is one of 10 countries this year to be selected for the grant, which will be awarded this month.

US Ambassador to Jamaica, Nick Perry, made the disclosure during a recent courtesy call on the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr, at the Ministry’s offices in Kingston.

Perry noted that the grant will benefit Jamaican small farmers and that the many health benefits of turmeric and ginger are amongst the reasons for the demand.

“The health food industry in the United States is certainly looking for imports that will feed into the demand. I am sure that this will be a good investment for the United States and for Jamaican farmers to benefit from our relationship,” Perry said.

In the meantime, Charles Jr welcomed the grant and said that the rationale behind it ties into the national ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ campaign.

“It's a campaign to connect the thinking around greater efficiencies in agricultural operation and the strategic and deliberate consumption of products that are going to be more nutritious, particularly at a time when we are trying to achieve food security, so the ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ [movement] really embraces this grant,” he said.

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