Jamaica has shipped 12,000 pounds of “Julie” & “East Indian” mangoes to the United States, and Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach are among the first to receive shipments. The mangoes will be sold in Bravo and Presidente supermarkets.
The mangoes were shipped from Jamaica on June 13. The Mango Irradiation Program is facilitating the export, which will continue one or two times per week until the close of mango season at the end of July.
An official export ceremony was held at Sangster International Airport’s Export Complex in Montego Bay, St. James. At the ceremony, J.C. Hutchinson, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Agriculture, said that there is a high demand for Jamaican mangoes among people In the Diaspora. Hutchinson also noted that the first shipment of mangoes to the US indicates that markets for the produce exist and that Jamaica should take all opportunities to fulfill the demand in those markets.
Jamaica has exported mangoes to Canada and the United Kingdom for some time. In 2013, 654,954 kilograms of mangoes were shipped to Canada, and in 2014, the country received shipments totaling 691,206 kilograms.
The US Department of Agriculture cleared the way for the importation of Jamaican mangoes in 2013, but the arrangement was subject to compliance with standards imposed by the agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The Jamaican government have to ensure the mangoes undergo a process of irradiation – treating mangoes with ionizing radiation, which sterilizes fruit flies so they cannot reproduce.
According to Dalton Hastings, Export Complex Manager in the Plant Quarantine Department of the Ministry, reassured consumers that this process does not impact the taste of the mangoes, but does increase their shelf life by killing pathogens.
Jordan Dawson of Dawson’s Trading Company who supports the export of mangoes to the US believes the arrangement has major benefits for Jamaica’s agricultural sector.