Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Jamaica to resume mango exports to the UK this year

Published:Monday | July 25, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Karl Samuda (second right) shares a pleasant moment with (from left) permanent secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry; Fresh Produce Consortium’s Angie Stuart and Anthony Grant from the Ebony Park Farmers Association at the recent Fresh Produce Forum in London, England. The forum, which was organised by JAMPRO UK and the Consortium, brought Jamaican exporters and UK regulators together for a better understanding of the phytosanitary requirements for plants and produce crossing the UK's borders.

Jamaica is to resume exporting mangoes to the United Kingdom (UK) this year after voluntarily suspending exports in 2014 when there was a spike in detentions due to pest contamination.

Speaking at a Fresh Produce Forum organised by JAMPRO UK and the Fresh Produce Consortium in London, England earlier this week, chief technical director in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dermon Spence, announced that mango exports to the UK would resume on a phased basis by the end of the year. The forum brought sellers and regulators together for a better understanding of the UK's phytosanitary requirements for plants and produce crossing its borders.

The UK regulators present at the forum commended Jamaica for the actions taken at the national level to improve the phytosanitary standards for mango exports. Industry Minister Karl Samuda attended the forum to observe firsthand the exchanges between the regulators and buyers on the UK fresh produce market. In closing the forum, he noted that his Ministry is moving towards Global Gap Certification for access to additional markets in the UK.

"This is a necessary prerequisite to ensure that Jamaica can move from being considered a nation of samples to a nation of sustainable supply," said Samuda. He also assured the UK buyers and regulators that under his watch, Jamaica was committed to improving its fresh and processed exports to the UK. Business liaison executive at the Fresh Produce Consortium, Angie Stuart, said a number of exotic fruits which are grown in Jamaica, are in high demand in the UK. She said the UK's National Health Service "actively encourages mothers to wean their babies on papaya, mango, avocado and sweet potatoes - all products that Britain is unable to grow, but Jamaica can."

Meanwhile, vice-president of the consortium, Simon Martin said there are several potential areas for expansion for Jamaican farmers. Citing sweet potatoes as an example, he said there was a vibrant market for the tubers in the UK. He told Samuda that the sweet potato is now an attractive product, with demand for the tuber growing each year.