JAMAICAN MANGOES BOUND FOR THE USA: Hon J.C. Hutchinson, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries MICAF), assists with the loading of the first shipment of Jamaican mangoes to the United States at the Montego Bay Export Complex at the Sangster International Airport in St. James, on June 13, 2019. At right is Dalton Hastings, Export Complex Manager, Plant Quarantine/Produce Inspection Branch, MICAF. Some 12, 000 pounds of mangoes, representing 800 boxes were shipped to the USA.
All across Jamaica mango trees – Julie, East Indian, common mango, blackie, you name it, are blossoming and bearing fruit.
And this mango season is going down in history with the first shipment of Jamaican mangoes to the US on Thursday, June 13.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the event at the Export Complex at the Sangster Airport in Montego Bay, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon J.C. Hutchinson, declared: “ There is hardly anything more delicious than a ripe Jamaican mango; it is sweet and it is nutritious. So, today is mango time! We say Jamaican mangoes to the world!
At approximately 3 p.m. today, Thursday, June 13, 2019, an American Airlines Flight is scheduled to depart the Sangster International Airport and 12,000 pounds of Jamaican mangoes will be on board.
Congratulations to all involved in this success story and here’s to a safe and happy landing!”
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw and his team at the Ministry are excited about this.
Noting that irradiation is an important requirement for the mangoes to be imported into the US, Minister Shaw places the mango programme in the context of his Ministry’s Agricultural Diversification Programme and strategies to industrialise the production of non-traditional crops such as castor beans, bamboo, cannabis and orchard crops including mangoes.
Speaking in the Sectoral Debate in Parliament in April, Minister Shaw announced that as an incentive to approved farmers and exporters for mango production and export, the Ministry will waive the fees associated with inspection, storage and usage for the one-year period May 2019 to May 2020.
In the meantime, the Minister has emphasized that approval for mango exports was granted subject to the compliance with standards required by the United States Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS). In this regard, the Ministry of Agriculture has been working with farmers and exporters to meet the import requirements.
Explaining the process necessary to satisfy the conditions for export, Acting Permanent Secretary, Dermon Spence, says that in accordance with these standards, USDA-APHIS requires treatment of the mangoes by irradiation to a range of precautionary measures. Among the measures are:
1. The mangoes have to be produced in orchards in accordance with a systems approach, employing a combination of mitigation measures for certain fruit flies, soft scale insects, and diseases. Mango shipments would have to be inspected prior to exportation from Jamaica and found free of these pests and diseases.
2. The mangoes have to be exported in commercial consignments only and would have to be treated on entering the USA to mitigate the risk of fruit flies and
3. The mangoes also have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the Plant Quarantine and Produce Inspection Branch.
Individual travellers are not permitted to take mangoes with them into the US.
Chief Plant Quarantine and Produce Inspection Officer, Sanniel Wilson, says that irradiation is the process through which the fruits are treated using a form of energy called ionizing radiation. The process involves exposing food, either in bulk or packaged, to gamma rays for a specified amount of time. This process sterilizes the pests so they are not capable of reproducing. This treatment would have to be done in the USA and there is a protocol to be followed with certain conditions such as the consignment would have to be packaged in approved boxes and irradiation plastic all the way to the irradiation facility in the USA. If one live pest is found, she said, the consignment would be rejected here in Jamaica.
With at least one importer from the USA having already contacted the Ministry to import the mangoes into the USA, two farms have already been certified, with another 7 in different stages of certification.
“Jamaican mango get US visa,” declares Wilson, with a chuckle and a smile.
With a reputation for great taste and quality, it is expected that Jamaican mangoes will be very competitive in that market and join the other 53 approved agricultural produce on the GOJ/USDA-APHIS Preclearance list for the importation of fresh produce and plants into the USA from Jamaica.
Mangoes are already currently being imported to Canada and Britain and with the entrance into the US market, it is expected that the fruit will earn up to an estimated US$1.5 million per annum.
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The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) has been charged with the responsibility of driving the integration of the production of primary agricultural produce along all the stages of the supply chain through to value added and facilitating full commercialization of outputs of the agriculture, manufacturing, and service sectors.
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