Tue | Apr 7, 2020

Shaw urges JACRA to tackle fraudsters

Published:Monday | February 24, 2020 | 10:28 AM
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw - File photo

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, is urging the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) to intensify its efforts to eliminate the trade in counterfeit Jamaican speciality products and the abuse of labelling standards and the Jamaican brand.

In remarks to the commemorative church service held at the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew on Sunday, Shaw, while emphasising the “compelling rationale” for JACRA’s establishment two years ago, charged the agency to go after perpetrators of the illegal activities.

Alluding to the debilitating effects of the illegal activities, he said that the trade robs genuine producers a fair return on their investments, abuse the integrity of Jamaican products, deceive unsuspecting consumers and may even pose health risks as many of the items are substandard and produced under less than ideal conditions.

He, therefore, instructed JACRA to address the problem resolutely and with urgency.

“With respect to those who continue heedlessly to abuse the integrity of our speciality products: enforce the regulations; prosecute the culprits - large and small; educate traders and retailers to identify contraband and counterfeit products and report the illegal activity; alert the consuming public to exercise vigilance; and most of all for all transgressors, find them, prosecute them, name them – shame them!” Shaw said. 

Shaw’s message, which was delivered by Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Monique Gibbs, disclosed that as JACRA celebrates its second anniversary this year, the organisation which has been beset by teething pains is now being re-energised and re-focused to move forward in a more “sure-footed manner”.

He observed that the challenges facing the relatively new state agency are many and the issues complex.

The commodities being regulated are in many instances are priceless.

 “Our Blue Mountain and High Mountain coffees have incomparable attributes. Our cocoa is among the world’s finest. Our spices have staked an enviable presence in the global markets and are now challenging for increased prominence in the international nutraceutical market.

“All this is happening even as globalisation has reduced the competitiveness and demand for our traditional products. This emerging reality was one of the compelling reasons for the establishment of JACRA as the one-shop agency for regulating certain agricultural commodities. Its role extends beyond the enforcement of regulations. Its mandate includes the protection of the regulated brands, promotion of our speciality products, facilitation of investments in the sector and in general, contribution to the sustainable development of the sector, with an emphasis on agricultural best practices and the wellbeing of our rural farmers.”

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