JAMAICA Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) will be targeting Jamaicans in the United States (US) as part of the thrust to increase food exports.
Vice-President for Export and Market Development Robert Scott said the entity will be engaging an in-market broker to take orders in key cities in the US where members of the Jamaican Diaspora reside.
“This will happen in partnership with an ambitious lifestyle programme, promoting food, beverage and lifestyle products under one umbrella, as a cogent pull strategy to drive demand,” he said.
He noted that the national economic target of achieving five per cent growth in four years requires “laser-like focus” on key export markets.
Scott was speaking Monday at the opening of a three-day workshop at Technological Solutions Limited in St Andrew aimed at preparing exporters to comply with the new regulations for food safety set by the US Government.
The session was part of an ongoing initiative to equip staff in food export operations to become preventive controls, qualified individuals (PCQIs), based on the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance and the Food and Drug Administration-developed curriculum.
A PCQI is someone who has successfully completed training in the development and application of risk-based preventive controls or is otherwise qualified through job experience to develop and apply a food safety system.
Scott pointed to the need for food exporters to meet the highest international standards in order to protect Brand Jamaica.
He said Jamaica’s traceability systems must be able to withstand the strongest scrutiny. “Nothing less is acceptable. Jamaican firms must aim not only to be compliant, but to be best in class and emblematic to the true meaning of Brand Jamaica,” he said.
“Our products must have the branding, the packaging and an overall look and feel of a unique, authentic, first class product,” he added, noting that “many products are well on their way to achieving that”.
Scott said the National Export Strategy calls for goods exports to grow to US$2.5 billion by 2019, while agribusiness is expected to have a compounded annual growth rate of 12 per cent to just under US$600 million.