Jamaica to push Guyana’s food exports with new local partnership

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Jamaica is hoping to expand its presence in Guyana since it believes it is an ideal development partner, and the country says it can push Guyanese exports in the United States (US) and elsewhere.

This is according to the country’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Aubyn Hill, who spoke to reporters on Wednesday.

How the country hopes to do that is by offering its accreditation services which, Hill said, are among the best in the region.

In fact, he noted that Jamaica is only one of four countries in the world to have certification from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). With this, Guyanese products that are certified by Jamaica would not need further certification from the US.

Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Aubyn Hill (Photo: News Room/ October 5, 2022)

Guyana’s rice and other food products have already benefitted from these services through the Jamaica National Accreditation Company, but a new partnership could streamline the certification processes, easing the process of exporting food.

“We’re planning to have an arrangement with Guyana so that as you produce more food, we provide the testing in partnership with a Guyanese company that we are doing to work with to do the accrediting,” the Investment Minister said.

Importantly, though, Minister Hill reasoned that Guyana and other Caribbean countries must think beyond exporting raw products and focus on developing agro-processing.

In this regard, again, he believes that Jamaica and Guyana can partner.

Aside from Hill’s statements, Diane Edwards, the President of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), which is the island’s national investment and export promotion agency, said that further collaboration with Jamaica would prove advantageous for Guyana’s export efforts since the Port of Kingston is on all international shipping lanes.

Expanding regional food production and boosting intra-regional trade is part of the Guyana-led agricultural plan within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). With these efforts, the regional bloc hopes to slash the Caribbean’s exorbitant food import bill by some 25 per cent, by 2025.

Minister Hill said Jamaica is in full support of these efforts particularly given the global price surges and food shortages emanating from the Ukraine/Russia crisis.

“Ukraine has taught us that you cannot be dependent or have your food dependent on countries that you are not even close to,” he said.

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