The Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) has secured funding under the Caribbean Export Development Agency Direct Assistance Grant Scheme, which is financed by the European Union to execute the project “Improving Packaging for Export Competitiveness” to tackle poor packaging of local manufacturers in an effort to improve export competitiveness.
Over the years, both the government and private sector have indentified packaging as a key area to tackle in order to increase local manufacturing potential. Jamaica is known to produce premium quality, niche products however earning potential is often limited by poor, non-trendy packaging and incorrect or unattractive labels. From a policy directive, both the National Industrial Policy 1996-2010 and the National Export Strategy (NES) launched in 2009 indicated that local manufacturers have low packaging standards, which impacts export competitiveness and that improving it would directly impact export revenue.
The Project will be executed through a combination of capacity building and technical assistance involving key stakeholders such as graphic designers, manufacturers, Business Support Organizations (BSO) and printeries. Selected personnel will be trained to competently design labels, meet quality standards, informed on trends and industry specifications for labelling, as well as regulations to comply with international standards and expose them to new trends in the international market for packaging materials, label designs, printing and packaging technology and innovation. The Project will also provide technical assistance to exporters and potential exporters that need to improve their labels and packaging.
According to the JMA Executive Director, Imega Breese-McNab, “Jamaica’s export potential has been limited by poor packaging and the development of key stakeholders along the printing and packaging value chain is critical, in any effort to successfully improve packaging for export competitiveness.”
Ultimately the goal of the JMA is to enable Jamaican manufacturing companies to maximize opportunities in international markets. Within the printing and packaging industry, the long term goal is to address the unavailability of quality and innovative local packaging and labels, the limited technical support for manufacturers in branding, labelling and packaging regulations, including intellectual property rights from business support organizations, the inadequate knowledge and requirements for foreign markets, and the poor quality execution of label printing by local printeries.
Breese-McNab added that there is huge potential for investors along the Printing and Packaging Industry value chain as in 2010 Jamaica imported US$74,434,000 of plastic packaging and in 2009, US$8,824,000 of printed paper labels was imported mainly from Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Costa Rico and the United States. She noted that larger companies mainly use overseas graphics artists to design labels and print, then import them as local designers, packaging manufacturers and printeries have had limited exposure to labelling trends, the range and trend of finished packaging and new packaging and printing technology. Therefore the label designs and packaging materials utilized locally are to a large extent not competitive enough or in some instances don’t meet the standards of the international consumer or marketplace.
The project began November 8 and will be implemented over an eight (8) month period.
Posted By :Rochelle Roye
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