Importers, retailers and distributors of goods made in Jamaica now have a way to tell if they’re importing, retailing or distributing the real thing. The Caribbean nation rolled out a series of certification and collective marks to denote the authenticity of the made-in-Jamaica label, assuring consumers of the wholly Jamaican origin of ingredients and conformity to Jamaican-established manufacturing standards.
This has been in the works for years. In 2005, the Jamaica Exporters’ Association established The Compet-itiveness Company “to enhance the competitiveness of Jamaican firms, ensure that Jamaican products can command a premium in the marketplace and move Jamaican exports up the value chain.” Headed by Beverly Morgan, Ph.D., the company has been the driving force behind the new marks. “A strong brand is invaluable to a small economy like ours. We need to spend time investing in researching, defining and building our brand. Each one is a piece of Jamaica that we want to be known worldwide,” Morgan said in a recent interview. Specific marks authenticate the following products:
Sauces and spices. Covers jerk seasoning and jerk sauces.
Scotch bonnet pepper sauces. Covers hot peppers sauces.
Honey. Covers honey and any sauces or condiments derived from honey.
Processed ackees. Covers ackee that is preserved, processed, frozen and/or cooked.
Generic. Covers preserved, dried, processed, frozen and cooked fruits and vegetables; jellies, jams, compotes; preparations made from cereals, breads, pastry and confectionery; sauces (condiments), spices, treacle; fresh fruits and vegetables; beers, mineral and aerated water and other nonalcoholic drinks; fruit drinks, fruit juices, syrups and other preparations for making beverages.
Nontraditional tourism. Covers tourism services of the nontraditional type such as tour operators, bed-and-breakfast, small hoteliers and events planning.
Boutique agribusiness. Covers soaps, perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions, dentifrices and cocoa products for personal care and confectionery; pharmaceutical and veterinary preparations; sanitary preparations for medical purposes; dietetic substances adapted for medical use, food for babies; plasters, materials for dressings; dental wax; disinfectants; preparations for destroying vermin; fungicides, herbicides; meat, fish, poultry and game; meat extracts; preserved, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables; jellies, jams, compotes; eggs, milk and milk products; edible oils and fats; coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, tapioca, sago, artificial coffee; flour and preparations made from cereals, bread, pastry and confectionery, ices; honey, treacle; yeast, baking powder; salt, mustard; vinegar, sauces (condiments); spices; ice; agricultural, horticultural and forestry products and grains such as, unprocessed grain, agricultural seeds, spores and spawn for agricultural
purposes, sugarcane, raw timber, unprocessed timber, living trees, shrubs, live bushes; live animals; plant and fruit seeds, crop seeds, herb seeds for planting, seeds for flowers, seeds for horticultural purposes, unprocessed edible seeds, natural plants and flowers; foodstuffs for animals; and malt.
Fresh produce. Covers fresh fruits and vegetables, canned vegetables, fruit salads, canned and frosted fruits, fruit pulp and starchy foods.
Visual arts. Covers art, works of art (of wood, wax, plaster or plastic); ceramic glazing, jewelry and precious stones; unworked or semiworked glass; glassware; porcelain and earth ware; porcelain doorknobs, figures of porcelain, porcelain plaques; earthenware mugs and basins; ceramic figurines; paints, varnishes and lacquers for handicrafts and arts, dyestuffs for clothing, printed matter, photographs, clothing, footwear, headgear.
Wearable art. Covers earrings; clothing, footwear, headgear; embroidery and embroidery for garments, embroidery designs and embroidery frames, embroidery design patterns, printed instructional materials on the subject of art, fashion and clothing design, embroidering, knitting and sewing; printed patterns.
Jamaican officials complain that counterfeiting of the Jamaica brand is widespread, citing as examples Jamaica jerk seasoning made in Idaho with a base of raspberries; Jamaica Scotch bonnet pepper sauce from Costa Rica; Jamaican cigars from Nicaragua; Jamaican ginger beer made in New York; and Jamaican ginger ale made in New Mexico. They hope that consumers will now distinguish and opt for “genuine Jamaican.”