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Assessing The Competitiveness Of Jamaican Ackee In Light Of The Challenges Faced By Sugar And Bananas

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  • Hyatt, Karl
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    Economic theory posits that the removal of impediments to trade should redound to improvement in the overall well-being of all nations. Unfortunately, for many developing countries, this has not been the case; upon significantly reducing their tariffs, they are yet to see any tangible benefits. On the contrary, they have experienced a decline in market share and in some instances significant erosion of trade preferences that they had previously enjoyed with their trading partners. The preferential market access, from which Jamaica and other ACP (African Caribbean and Pacific) states benefit, through exports of sugar and bananas to the EU (European Union), has been eroded as a result of recent rulings by the WTO. These rulings have already affected the banana industry severely; resulting in loss of jobs, reduction in foreign exchange earnings and area planted in bananas. The sugar industry is expected to be similarly affected with the pending phased reduction in the price per tonne, which the EU proposes to pay ACP sugar producers. In light of the above, there is on-going search for non-traditional commodities with good export potential and the ability to compete in the international market place. Ackee is a non-traditional crop that is considered to have excellent foreign exchange earning potential. This paper will examine the prospect of expanding the volume of ackees exported, particularly to the US market. It will also discuss the health concerns associated with the consumption of the fruit, as well as present scientific evidence to allay food safety concerns associated with it. Finally a policy analysis matrix (PAM) approach was used to assess the comparative advantage of ackee, relative to sugar and bananas. The results of the PAM indicate that whilst sugar cane and bananas enjoy some comparative advantage, ackee uses locally resources most efficiently. This suggests that some of the resources that are currently being employed in the production of sugar cane and bananas could probably be more efficiently employed in the production of ackees.

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    Paper provided by Caribbean Agro-Economic Society in its series 2006 West Indies Agricultural Economics Conference, July 2006, San Juan, Puerto Rico with number 36947.

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    Date of creation: May 2007
    Handle: RePEc:ags:cars06:36947
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    1. Cheng Fang & John C. Beghin, 2000. "Food Self-Sufficiency, Comparative Advantage, and Agricultural Trade: A Policy Analysis Matrix for Chinese Agriculture," Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) Publications 99-wp223, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at Iowa State University.
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