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12,000 pounds of Jamaican ‘Julie’ ‘East Indian’ mangoes shipped to US

Published:Friday | June 14, 2019 | 1:29 PM
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Agriculture, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson (left) and Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Denton Spence (right), hold a box of mangoes that was among the first batch to be exported to the United States - Contributed photo.

Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in Florida are among the first areas to receive Jamaican mangoes in the United States.

Twelve thousand pounds of ‘Julie’ and ‘East Indian’ mangoes were exported on Thursday.

Export of the mangoes, the first set to be exported to the US in 20 years, which is being facilitated through the Mango Irradiation Programme, is expected to continue once or twice per week until the close of mango season in late July 2019.

Addressing the official export ceremony at the Sangster International Airport Export Complex in Montego Bay, St James, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Agriculture, J.C. Hutchinson, said that the demand for Jamaican mangoes is high in the Diaspora.

“This inaugural shipment of mangoes to the US tells us that the markets are there and we must grasp every opportunity to meet the demands of those markets,” Hutchinson said.

He noted that Jamaica has, for some time, been exporting mangoes to Diaspora markets in the United Kingdom and Canada, and that in 2013, the country exported 654,954 kilograms of mangoes to Canada and 691,206 kilograms in 2014.

Jamaica currently exports 419,919 kilograms of mangoes to Canada annually.

In 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave clearance for Jamaica to export mangoes to the country.

This, however, was subject to compliance with standards required by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

As a result, the Government has had to work with the nation’s farmers to meet the necessary requirements.

The Minister stated that one of the requirements was that mangoes meet US standards by ensuring that the produce underwent the process of irradiation.

The process, which involves the treating of fruits with ionising radiation, sterilises fruit flies so they are unable to reproduce.

In an interview with JIS News, Export Complex Manager in the Plant Quarantine Department of the Ministry, Dalton Hastings, said the process does not affect the taste of the mangoes and increases the shelf life of the produce.

“It [irradiation process] will kill pathogens, which are actually the reasons why the shelf life of most produce decreases because the pathogens actually cause the produce to rot. So, the taste of the mangoes will remain the same,” he assured.

For his part, farmer and exporter of mangoes to the US, Jordan Dawson of Dawson’s Trading Company, said that export of the produce is very beneficial to the island’s agricultural landscape.

Chief Executive Officer of Xander Distributors in Florida, Leighton Hylton, will be among the first to receive the mangoes in the US to supply the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach areas in the state.

Hylton said that Jamaicans in the Diaspora are very excited for the mangoes to arrive in the US.

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