Food
JM | May 31, 2022

Jamaica strikes new food supply deal with Cayman Islands

/ Our Today

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Cayman now has direct access to high-quality fresh produce from Jamaica

Cayman Islands Agriculture Minister Jay Ebanks.

Durrant Pate/Contributor

Jamaica’s agricultural sector has gotten a big boost as the island has struck a new food supply deal with The Cayman Islands.

Under the new deal, The Cayman Islands will be importing more plantain, breadfruit, soursop and ackee from Jamaica, as part of a new import-export arrangement. The deal was consummated following a recent visit to Jamaica by Cayman Islands Agriculture Minister Jay Ebanks, who has approved a broadened list of agricultural produce from Jamaica.

This was done to improve Cayman’s food security with Ebanks saying the new arrangement would give Cayman direct access to high-quality fresh produce from Jamaica.

Under the agreed import conditions, all exporters from Jamaica must have a valid import permit from the Department of Agriculture to Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Plant Quarantine’s produce inspection officers.

Details of the agreed import conditions

The produce must be sourced from farms registered and certified by Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. All commodities intended for entry into The Cayman Islands must be inspected and certified to be of good quality, clean, and free of pests, soil and foreign matter by authorised officers from Jamaica’s Produce Inspection Division at approved packing houses or at the designated export complex.

Consignments must be accompanied by a valid phytosanitary certificate that is issued and signed by an officer of the National Plant Protection Organization of Jamaica. They are subject to inspection on arrival by officers in the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Health Inspection Services Unit.

Expanding imports from Jamaica as Cayman pushes to increase its own stock continues a longstanding trading relationship spanning over 20 years, facilitating the import of agricultural commodities from Jamaica to The Cayman Islands in accordance with international standards.

In the meantime, the Cayman government is encouraging local farmers to plant more, promising that the agriculture ministry will continue to provide them with the resources needed to strengthen their resilience to boost the islands’ food security.

“Until sufficient supply is produced locally, Jamaica offers a good alternative as it is closer than other countries from which we import similar items.”

Cayman Islands Agriculture Minister Jay Ebanks

Ebanks pointed out that, “with the ongoing and increasing threats to global food supplies from climate change to the war in Europe, expanding intra-regional trade within the Caribbean is critical to our food security and economic stability”.

He noted that demand for some of the produce now added to the list of permissible imports has exceeded what is grown locally.

“Until sufficient supply is produced locally, Jamaica offers a good alternative as it is closer than other countries from which we import similar items,” Ebanks explained.

BEACON FARMS HARVESTS FIRST CROP OF MANGELWURZELS

Local farmers in Cayman are also becoming more innovative. 

Beacon Farms in North Side, a non-profit organisation that provides jobs and training to Caymanians in recovery from substance abuse, recently harvested its first crop of mangelwurzels. This is a large root vegetable from the same family as red and sugar beets and Swiss chard.

Commonly used as cattle fodder, both the leaves and roots are edible for humans, too. Although mangelwurzels are typically grown in temperate climates, the Beacon Farms team successfully put on trial  a winter crop in their research and development garden this year and has plans to plant more extensively in their commercial fields next year.

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