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Editors' Forum | Expo Jamaica 2018 to showcase 'JEMS'

Published:Monday | April 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue/Senior Gleaner Writer

Organisers of Expo Jamaica 2018 will unveil a village of emerging entrepreneurs in the Jamaica Emerging Manufacturers and Services (JEMS) village when the biennial show opens on Thursday.

Among the gems that will be in the village are ganja and castor oil products, from which many Jamaicans have created by-products.

Aswad Morgan, co-chair of the expo, which brings together local manufacturers and marries them with local and international buyers, said the organisers try each year to offer something new.

"You will have a few of your medicinal ganja people, castor oil people, a number of smaller and medium-size businesses that we need to showcase the category of products that are new to us," Morgan told a Gleaner Editors' Forum last Thursday.

"We had a very intense search for buyers and we tried to increase the number of buyers. With the help of Jamaica Promotions (JAMPRO) ... so many more countries are coming.

"So while we are bringing the people here, we want to expose them to all, as best as possible, of what we have to offer," added Morgan.

Several by-products of ganja have been introduced to the market since the laws were relaxed for possession of small quantities of weed.

An emerging market of local jewellery makers and other craft-type activities, fashion, processed food, hair and beauty products, and arts and crafts will also be showcased in JEMS.

Executive director of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA), Imega Breese McNab, told the forum that there had been a high demand from small entities to be part of the expo.

"Forty-two spaces were allocated for JEMS, but it was oversubscribed and more space had to be allocated," said Breese McNab.

With concerns in some areas that these small entities might not be able to meet demand if they impress at the expo, co-chairman of the planning committee, Richard Coe, told Gleaner editors and reporters that this is being addressed.