Jamaican Minister of Agriculture and Commerce Audley Shaw said that there are plans to begin exporting Jamaican mangoes to the United States. Jamaicans in the US who have been asking their family and friends to bring them local island foods will soon be able to purchase mangoes in their neighborhood grocery stores.
The agreement allowing the importation of mangoes includes a system for irradiating the fruits. This is a food safety measure that aims to remove any disease-carrying bacteria, particularly that transported by the tropical fruit fly. According to Shaw, who reopened a JAMPRO office in New York to promote investment in Jamaica, mango orchards will be established in order to maximize production to meet the high demand.
The reopening of the JAMPRO office is expected to facilitate entry for local Jamaican produce into the American market, where authorities impose stringent restrictions in hopes to blocking external diseases that could have devastating effects on US agriculture. Receiving permission to export mangoes is a significant achievement and a breakthrough that could ease the way to move other non-traditional produce.
The effort to get approval for mango imports from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture started back in 2009 and required amendment of existing regulations. In order to enter the US, mangoes must be produced according to an approach that uses mitigation measures targeted at specific fruit flies, soft scale insects, and diseases. They must also be inspected before export from Jamaica to ensure they are free of these contaminants. Mangoes destined for US import must also be produced in places registered with authorities of both countries. Packages carrying mangoes must not include any other fruits.
While the export of mangoes will involve less than 0.08 percent of the US mango imports, it presents an opportunity for Jamaica to develop a potentially lucrative trade option.
Photo by X Murphy