An agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce, the JBDC is Jamaica’s premier business development organisation working collaboratively with government, private sector, as well as, academic, research and international communities.



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Local farmers are being encouraged to increase the production of crops, to supply agro-processors. The Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) says local agro-processors are innovating Jamaican traditional snacks with a healthy twist, to capitalise on the global consumer trend demanding healthier foods. In 2023, the newly renovated agro-processing incubator at the JBDC’s Incubator and Resource Centre (IRC) facilitated the production of J$22 million worth of agro-processed products.

Colin Porter, technical services manager at the JBDC’s IRC, says, “We are seeing generally a healthier focus on food production. Flavour profiles have widened, for example, persons agro-processors who produce coconut cakes and roasted peanuts are adding flavours to them. We are seeing spicy flavoured peanuts, jerk-flavoured peanuts.”

Continuing, he said, “We see agro-processors adding fruits and other nuts to the coconut drops and other traditional snacks, while trying to make them healthier in terms of less sugar contents and things of that nature. So, we see a definite trend towards healthier, more innovative versions of some of our traditional snacks and soups.”


The JBDC has been empowering manufacturers to develop innovative products at high quality. This comes amid the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce’s push to increase exports of locally manufactured products.

However, Porter sees more in stock for the agro-processing industry, if a greater relationship is developed along the value chain. “Agro-processing needs to reach the stage where there is full exploitation of the value chain. We need to see more conversion of the raw materials to value-added products. We need to see more crops being planted to supply those involved in agro-processing,” he said.

He added that, “For farmers to produce the type of raw materials agro-processors need, farmers and processors would have to synchronise timelines in the delivery of materials. We need to move away from the issue of seasonality for some crops, as this may not tie into demand peaks.”

With a total of 290 agro-processors accessing 1,634 technical consultations, including product development, prototype development and label & packaging design, manufacturers were able to develop products such as snacks, seasonings, sauces, spices, soups, condiments, and beverages.

The facility was developed as part of the Increasing the Export Capacity of Micro and Small Agro-Processors Using the Cluster Approach project sponsored by the European Union (EU), managed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and implemented by the JBDC. The incubator was developed to actively grow exports nationally in keeping with development targets for the country. The agro-processing incubator is equipped to produce goods at internationally acceptable standards. The JBDC is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

Source: Jamaica Gleaner:


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