A 15-strong delegation from Jamaica visited New Covent Garden Marketyesterday morning to find out more about opportunities for their products in the UK marketplace.
Heading the party was Hon. Derrick Kellier, Jamaican minister of agriculture and fisheries. He was accompanied by Donovan Stanberry, permanent secretary, Natalie Johnson executive assistant to the minister,Janet Conie general manager of the Jamaican Banana Board, Shaun Baughmanager of the banana accompanying measures programme, grower/exporters Noel Clarke, Tekka Dellop, Leonard Green, Dennis Buddoo and officials from the Kingston and London Jamaican export promotion office JAMPRO; Robert Scott, Laurence Jones, CamilleMcFarlane and Enid Williams as well as marketing consultant DerrickDeslandes and UK importer Noel Dempster of Ashanti Drinks.
The delegation was hosted by Helen Evans, director of business development & support at Covent Garden Market Authority with NigelJenney FPC chief executive supported by FPC-member Chris Marshall head of agriculture at QV Foods. The guests visited several traders on the market such as P&I Fruits, French Garden and Bevington Salads, where they were addressed by tenants’ association chairman Gary Marshall. They were also shown the banana holding rooms at Premier Fruits and found out about the demands of supplying the foodservice sector in the UK.
P&I Fruits‘ Paul Emmett said: “There is a market her for anything from Jamaica. People identify with ‘Brand Jamaica‘ they know they will get good quality and on a regular basis.”
Nigel Jenney also addressed the group and told them that the view of traders of the strength of their national identity almost as a brand should not be underestimated. “What is important is we have seen that in the foodservice sector there is tremendous interest in Brand Jamaica. Every trader we have spoken to here today is interested in trading with Brand Jamaica and you should not underestimate the importance of that. What you need to do is keep in control of plant-health issues. And if you really want to break into the UK market, GlobalGAP is an absolute minimum requirement.”
The Jamaicans spotted several opportunities for their products on the tour. Minister Kellier said: “There are lots of fruits sold on this market that we can produce in Jamaica. Once the connections can be made, we can put a lot of farmers to work in Jamaica.
“The fruits we grow have a higher level of flavour and quality than those grown elsewhere because of our climate and our soils.
“This visit will allow us to go back to Jamaica and explore with our own farmers the opportunities to get into this market.”
Robert Scott sees an opening for ginger from Jamaica and Derrick Deslandes pointed out that there are already links being forged to supply specific melon varieties between the end of the Latin American season and the start of Spanish supplies in the spring. The delegation also heard of possibilities for the resurrection of banana sendings as well as increased mango trade.
Scott said: “It is with great satisfaction that we have come here to be part of the FPC Annual Dinner.
“Something we do very well in Jamaica are public/private partnerships…What we have seen with our visit to New Covent Garden today and to New Spitalfields in November is that there is an absence of Jamaican products for the foodservice sector and this is a clear opportunity for Jamaica.”
Published Date: February 12th, 2015
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