Don’t think we missed the Ginger Brouhaha. 4 REAL opportunities for Jamaican Entrepreneurs

Ahhh the wonders of Ginger!

I picked up on the ginger fracas last week after noticing multiple stories on the topic in the Gleaner. While reading, I realized that the articles spoke to Jamaican Ginger, missed export opportunities, and immediately it caught my attention, being someone interested in Maximizing their money.

Farming presents some real opportunities for Jamaica as we are able to grow some of the world’s BEST products and based on my reading, Jamaican Ginger is one of them. There are extensive opportunities in selling the produce, the by-products or even related services, and preliminary research points to the fact that as the refining process improves, the dollars increase.

So after digesting the series of articles, I knew that this was definitely something for the MoneyMax101 Community. It was relevant as it presented clear opportunities to invest and sell a premium product to a guaranteed market for a premium price. You just need to be willing to put in the work.

This weekend I discussed the Ginger issues with Andrew, who read the stories and immediately identified with me about the opportunities existing in Jamaican Ginger. Considering that agriculture (and making money) is an area of interest for all of us, I have decided to share the stories and 4 key points for Jamaican entrepreneurs.



This all started when the Gleaner reported that Jamaica missed a real opportunity for exporting Jamaican Ginger to an overseas supplier. The Gleaner reported:

Jamaica has missed out on a rare half-billion dollar (US$6 million) a year opportunity to supply ginger to a United States-domiciled drinks company listed in the NASDAQ, the world’s largest stock exchange by market capitalisation.

The island currently fills only 10 per cent of its potential export demand, which underscores missed market opportunities for this unique local crop.

Furthermore the Gleaner did a follow-up story highlighting that on top of the missed opportunity there was possible exploitation of the ‘Jamaican’ Brand, as the international company, REED’s was taking advantage of Jamaica by calling his products ‘Jamaican style’, when in fact none of the resources were from Jamaica. The Gleaner reported:

The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) has described as exploitation of the island’s brand, the decision by REED’s, a fast-growing US listed company, to describe its flagship ginger ale as ‘Jamaican style’, even though the raw material used in the blend is sourced from other countries.

“By calling it Jamaica-style ginger beer, produced in the USA, they are taking advantage of the name, reputation and exploiting Jamaica,” argued Carol Simpson, an attorney and head of JIPO, although she admitted that the company has not broken any law.

4 Lessons from this Ginger Debate, and the opportunities for Entrepreneurs

Careful consideration of the issues being discussed pointed to 4 real issues. After reading the articles published and the Ministry of Agriculture’s response, it pointed to 4 main points that Jamaican Entrepreneurs, and those particular interested in agriculture and farming should consider. What are they?

1. There is REAL opportunity in Jamaican Ginger

Ginger Snaps are a wonderful treat!

As the Gleaner reports:

Jamaica’s ginger, seen among the finest in the world, fetches up to US$8,000 per ton, according to Sylburn Thomas, general manager in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries export department. He explained that there is a 170-ton market for Jamaican ginger, but the island only managed to export 15 tons last year.

“We are meeting only 10 per cent of our export demand,” Thomas reasoned, adding that exports should increase by about two-thirds year on year. “In 2011, we are planning to export 25 tons,” the general manager said.

In fact the Ministry of Agriculture confirmed this in their response, also published in the Gleaner:

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is aware of the significant and increasing global demand for ginger in general and Jamaican ginger in particular. In fact, according to data from the International Trade Centre, global imports of ginger stood at 423,000 metric tons, valued at US$614 million (J$53 billion) during 2010, with Japan, United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Canada among the major importing countries, while China accounted for overwhelming exports, followed by Thailand, Nepal and Nigeria.

2. Opportunities exist in agriculture if you can guarantee a consistent supply

REED’s was quoted as saying:

“We have tried in the past to get supplies from Jamaica, but couldn’t find a reliable supplier,”

“In this business, smoothness of supply is important,” he said, referring to negotiations with Jamaica which occurred throughout the past decade.

3. Ginger is currently a high priority item for the Government

Have you tried the spicy ginger tea?

“…the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has prioritised ginger production under its Production and Productivity Programme with the specific objectives of providing disease-free planting material to the industry, expand cultivated acreage, increase yields and guarantee markets at competitive prices.”

4. Depending on your source… there are limited licensing restrictions in exporting Ginger

Chris Reed, founder and CEO of REED’s recalled “… there was an issue with exporting the fresh ginger,” …adding that “we approached two or three groups and at one point had an issue getting a licence.”

However the Ministry of Agriculture reports that

“… as far as we are aware, there is no special licensing requirement to export ginger. Private operators in the industry exported 17mt dried (85mt fresh) ginger during 2009 and diverted a similar quantity to the domestic market during 2011. In fact, relatively small quantities of fresh ginger are exported by many private exporters in consolidated fresh-produce containers.

Did you know that Jamaica produced some of the world’s best Ginger? What are some of the other products that are of high quality and demand premium prices on the international market?


  1. Jamaica Squanders $500m Ginger Export Prospect
  2. Intellectual Property Regulator Says US Ginger Ale Brewer Exploiting Jamaica
  3. Ministry Of Agriculture Takes Issue With Missing Ginger Export Opportunity


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