Import/Export Regulations

Importation of fresh banana fruits and plant parts are restricted to prevent entry of diseases of quarantine significance from jeopardizing the local banana and plantain industry. The Banana Board carries out risk analyses to facilitate export of fresh banana and plantain produce to overseas markets and engages in applied research to ensure that raw materials and procedures are suitably adapted to Jamaica’s production systems, as well as biological and micro-climatic conditions. Further, the Board undertakes certification audits of farms and packing facilities to determine and superintend the standards of production, harvest, packaging and processing to ensure safety of consumers, workers and the environment on farms.

Global markets dictate that fruits being exported must obtain international certification. For example, a recent 2011 agreement between Cayman and Jamaica mandates that bananas from Jamaica must maintain internationally recognized standards of good agricultural practices (such as ISO and/ or GLOBALGAP) on the farms exporting fruits to Cayman. The standards ensure that critical workers are suitably trained and that international production procedures are followed before, during and after harvest. These include: banana agronomy; prevention of spread of notifiable diseases; use of pesticides and other chemicals and that records are kept to demonstrate safety, hygiene, sanitation, traceability and total quality management from planting to exportation of the crop. The Banana Board Research Department is the Central technical Function and document controller for all technical information governing domestic and export certification on banana and plantain farms.

To govern the process, a permit must be issued by the Board for exportation and importation of any fresh banana and plantain fruits or plant parts. The Banana Board has the authority to issue the permit for the export of bananas from Jamaica. The permit is issued at a fee of J$2.20 per kilogram of bananas to be exported.

Exporters are required to obtain the permit before the first day of harvest as the Certification Unit must monitor the procedures. The permit and receipt for fee-payment must be presented to customs at the port of shipment.

The Certification Unit of the Banana Board provides technical support to the farmer and the exporter to facilitate export of fruits of the required standards. Clients are given hands on technical assistance and are guided by the documented specifications on production and quality procedures are provided in the Banana Board’s Quality and Procedures Manual.

Failure of the exporter to adhere to guidelines may result in violations of trade rules, international food safety standards and sanitary and phyto-sanitary protocols and laws, which could be extremely costly to the exporter and the country at large.

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Banana Board
10 South Ave
Kingston Gardens
Kingston 4, Jamaica
Tel: (876) 922-5490
(876) 922-4327

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