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Opportunities beckon in Rio

Published:Wednesday | April 27, 2016 | 4:00 AMDania Bogle

Producers of authentic Jamaican products, including natural spices, essences, and apparel, will be best placed to seize any marketing opportunities bound to arise from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this summer, according to deputy president of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA), Howard Mitchell.

Mitchell, speaking to The Gleaner as the world counts down 100 days to the global sporting spectacle, said the most obvious areas of exchange would be cultural, with Brazilians' love of music and Jamaicans being producers of in-demand music making a fabulous marriage.

The greatest financial opportunities, Mitchell believes, would be through the marketing of local products.

"We would want to encourage our manufacturers of flavours, essences, and spices to participate and use it (Olympics) as an exposition. There is some discussion of that, and we see that as an opportunity to develop some cross-trade with Brazil," Mitchell said.

unique product

"In terms of manufacturers of apparel, there is scope for that and in terms for craft work, there is also scope for that. They (Brazil) also have their own product line, but we have a unique product that would be valuable," he said, adding that his association would do whatever it could to facilitate any business person wishing to travel to Brazil during the Games to promote their products."

Mitchell noted that Brazil's packaging industry was so extensive, it might be difficult for Jamaicans to find a foothold, but said agricultural products, including coffee, could be very competitive.

"For our processed agricultural products, those are opportunities that we mustn't miss out on," he said.

Commercial officer with the Embassy of Brazil, Terrianna Selby Kendall, in response to Gleaner queries about facilities that would be made available for Jamaicans to market their wares in Brazil, said the easing of tourist visa requirements for those travelling for the Games was also extended to business interests.

"This is an opportunity to engage in visits and tours, as well as prospecting for future business ventures. Jamaicans will be able to explore business opportunities during their trip to Brazil for the Olympics. They will also get a chance to interact with Brazilians, at home, and understand how best to market their products," Selby Kendall said.

"Given the nature of the Olympic Games and the aim of showcasing the host city, as well as world excellence in athleticism, one of the greatest opportunities will be that of cultural exchange. With this cultural exchange, there is also an opportunity to understand and experience what the country and city have to offer," she added.

Meanwhile, Mitchell said the JMA would be willing to work with Jamaica Trade and Invest (JAMPRO) if the Government trade body would be represented in Brazil.

"If JAMPRO will be there, we would be there to support," he said. "JMA has an export division and we would stand ready to give them what advice we would give them."

dania.bogle@gleanerjm.com