Thanks to a unique collaboration, Jamaican and Caribbean communities in New York City and cities in the northeastern United States have access to 4,500 pounds of East Indian and St. Julian (Julie) mangoes from Jamaica. The first of the fruit for sale arrived on June 13, 2020 in the boroughs of Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens.
A small piece of home for Caribbean communities, the mangoes are being made available through a partnership between the Washington, D.C.-based Jamaica Direct Distributing Company and the Miami-based U.S. importer, Season Farm Fresh, Inc. The project will help Jamaican farmers that have experienced significant losses in sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fruit will be sold to an exclusive number of Caribbean-affiliated stores in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area and in New York City. The delivery was originally set for early April, but closure of borders, suspension of exports, and embargo of commercial airline flights delayed the process and farmers had only local markets to rely upon.
Jamaica annually exports more than 654,954 kilograms of mangoes each year to Canada and the UK alone. The fruit undergoes an irridation process to eradicate fruit flies, kill pathogens, and increase its shelf life. Even with those precautions in place for safety, the COVID-19 virus stopped exports and took a severe toll on Jamaica’s mango industry. The collaboration between Jamaica, Season Fresh Farm, and Jamaica Direct Distributing Company is helping mango farmers stay in business.
To facilitate the delivery of the fruit, Season Fresh Farm chartered a cargo plane to get the mangoes to the U.S. Everyone involved with the mango operation worked closely with the Jamaican government and the nation’s farmers to boost the economy and ensure the fruit reached its destination. The Jamaican Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, was on-site to observe as the mangoes departed.