New fumigation facility available to exporters
A new offsite fumigation facility has been established at the Jam Island Processing Company in Manchester, to aid in the preparation and packaging of products for export.
The project, which was undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, will serve to enhance Jamaica's export capacity.
This was noted by Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier, during the launch of the 63rd staging of the annual Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show at White Marl, in St Catherine, on Thursday.
He noted that Jam Island, which was formerly V & M Import and Exports Limited, is a large exporter of yams, dasheen and pumpkins.
The minister said the new facility is over 12,000 square feet and can accommodate up to three 40-foot containers.
Kellier said that construction of the offsite fumigation facility, which was approved by the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), and the Plant Quarantine/Produce Inspection Branch of the ministry, is very significant.
One of the benefits, he said, include less handling as the produce will be processed, packed and fumigated at the same location, thus ensuring better quality for shipping.
"Before this, the produce would have had to be processed, packed and trucked into Kingston, then fumigated, packed again in the container and transported to the wharf," he pointed out.
Kellier added that this new facility will result in reduced costs for transportation, and more production time for workers as they will not be travelling to Kingston to off load and reload the containers.
"I am also happy to note that Jam Island intends to offer the fumigation services to other exporters who may be interested and to make this facility a 'one stop shop' where most of the exporters' suppliers, such as saw dust and boxes, will be available," he said.
He said the company has learned from the experience in 2011, when they lost several containers of yams because of pesticide residues and had to close their business for a few months.
"They have been back in the export business, but not back up to their maximum level. They also have a distributing facility in Miami, Florida to which their agricultural produce is shipped," the minister added. Kellier commended Jam Island as well as other private-sector partners and stakeholders who continue to support the nation's farmers and invest in the agricultural sector.
The Denbigh show is slated for July 31-August 2 in May Pen, Clarendon.