Sat | Sep 22, 2018

JACRA takes on coconut, amid challenges

Published:Monday | July 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/ Gleaner Writer

Effective today, all applications for permits to import or export coconut products and/or substitutes must be submitted to the Jamaica Agricultural Com-modities Regulatory Authorities (JACRA) at 1 Willie Henry Drive, Kingston 11.

All permits, applications and fees that were formerly handled by the Coconut Industry Board, with offices at 18 Waterloo Road, Kingston 10, will now be processed by the umbrella organisation covering trade in coffee, cocoa, coconut and spices - pimento, turmeric, pimento and nutmeg.

At least two members of the Coconut Industry Board have been transferred to the offices off Marcus Garvey Drive, which formerly housed the Coffee Industry Board, to allow for the smooth transition of applications relating to trade in coconut products.

However, concerns have been raised by members of the coconut industry over the readiness of the fledgling JACRA, which has been beset by leadership issues. Coconut growers and traders have taken issue with the regulations governing its operations, which they have described as not user-friendly. In fact, a number of business organisations have come out against some of the high licensing fees.

Meanwhile, the anticipated public awareness campaign to bring the public up to speed on the changes in relation to JACRA is yet to get off the ground. The building that houses the JACRA secretariat is still branded as the Coffee Industry Board, and there are no street signs identifying Willie Henry Drive or the JACRA building.

Fees

- Local import licence for coffee - J$500,000

- Foreign import licence for coffee - US$1,000

- Exporters trademark user licence - US$2,000

- Cocoa dealers licence - J$100,000 per annum

- Cocoa works licence - J$80,000 per annum

- Export licence for spices - J$68,000 per annum

- Coconut export licence - J$100,000 per annum

- Coconut site visit - J$10,000