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Jamaica’s agriculture sector to benefit from US grant

Jamaica is among ten countries that will benefit from a multi-million-dollar agriculture grant from the United States to improve the spice industry.

US Ambassador to Jamaica, Nick Perry, who met with Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Pearnel Charles Jr., said the US$20 million grant over a five-year period, will benefit Jamaican small farmers and the many health benefits of turmeric and ginger are amongst the reasons for the demand.

The grant will be disbursed under the ‘Food for Progress’ program and comes against the background of exponential growth of the spice industry in the US, especially as it concerns ginger, turmeric, and pimento.

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The initiative will, therefore, target the marketing and development of products, such as packaging, and will promote sustainable and climate-friendly farming to yield the best results.

“The health food industry in the United States is certainly looking for imports that will feed into the demand. I am sure that this will be a good investment for the United States and for Jamaican farmers to benefit from our relationship,” Perry said.

The agriculture minister in welcoming the grant added that the rationale behind it ties into the national ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ campaign.

“It’s a campaign to connect the thinking around greater efficiencies in agricultural operation and the strategic and deliberate consumption of products that are going to be more nutritious, particularly at a time when we are trying to achieve food security, so the ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ [movement] really embraces this grant,” he said.

Jamaica has a rich history of utilizing herbs and spices in the preservation and preparing of food, a tradition passed on from the Tainos and Africans. The demand for Jamaican herbs and spices on the international market continues to grow as people try to get their hands on authentic Jamaican products. This boost from the United States will help to further position Jamaica as a global export competitor for herbs and spices.

CMC/

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