Greater logistics support needed to facilitate increased food exports – PSWednesday, April 21, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dermon Spence, is calling for greater facilitation and increased logistics support for agricultural exports, noting that while there is an increased demand for Jamaican produce, exports continue to lag behind imports.
Speaking at a Fresh Produce Exporters' Forum yesterday, Spence stated that some 1.134 billion kilograms of produce valued at US$932.6 million was imported in 2020 as against exports of approximately 95.679 million kilogrammes of produce valued at US$238.5 million.
“While these figures reflect a decline in imports of nine per cent for 2019, the gap between what we import and what we export, which is approximately US$694 million, is far too wide,” said Spence.
He urged the exporters to take full advantage of products on the United States Division of Agriculture pre-clearance list, stating that currently only 13 of the designated 52 products were being exported.
The permanent secretary, however, noted the need for improvement in the consistency of supply, increased certification of our produce, and direct marketing relationships in order to make our produce more competitive.
Spence commended the Plant Quarantine/Produce Inspection Branch for the support it was providing to exporters of agricultural produce, stating that over US$72.079 million worth of agricultural produce for export was inspected and certified by the branch in 2020.
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