Jamaica News, St James: Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw has declared that he will compel the Coconut Industry Board (CIB), to ramp up its coconut production programme across the island, in order to meet local and international demand.
Speaking at the opening ceremony at the second staging of the Jamaica International Exhibition at the Montego Bay Convention Centreon Thursday night, the Minister said he was irritated that the Board had not been moving expeditiously to fully supply local manufacturers, causing some of them to have to look outside of the island for raw material.
“Grace Kennedy has to buy coconut water from Malaysia and Indonesia and sell it to Canada and they are the largest exporter of coconut products to Canada now,” Shaw lamented.
“Look how much idle land we have can plant coconuts. And the Coconut Industry Board by the way, own 25 percent of Seprod shares which value today 10 billon dollars, sitting in the banks. They are gonna have to use some of those shares now under my watch, to plant coconut trees like trouble, across Jamaica. Unacceptable!” he added.
The Jamaica International Exhibition is being staged by the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) in a bid to strengthen local manufacturing industry by providing local and international sales and networking opportunities.
More than 270 participants have been registered for the event, almost 50 percent more than the original target. Of these more than 180 are buyers from the United States, Canada, UK, Jamaica and the Caribbean.
In his address, outgoing president of the JMEA, Metry Seaga said the JMEA remains unfazed in its efforts to support and develop Jamaica’s export trade in what he described as a ‘highly competitive global marketplace’.
“It is imperative that the authorities provide support through business-friendly policies and programmes which can mainstream trade into sustainable development activities through a united export-centric approach, to ensure that Jamaica builds on its current achievements of a 37.8 percent growth in export, the largest growth the country has realized over 10 years,” Seaga said.
“Even as we encourage our farmers to grow, our creative industries to visualize; our manufacturers and service providers to innovate and expand, it is critical that in every sector, we are firmly set on increasing our marketable goods and services for export and on developing mutually beneficial trade relationships with international partners,” he added.