Rainforest Seafoods has added five new markets, spanning different continents.
Since January, the company has exported lobsters caught in Jamaican waters and conch to Greece, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. It also began exporting frozen lobsters to China and the United States in December.
CEO Brian Jardim said in a company-issued release that having established the seafood chain as a major supplier to the Caribbean, Rainforest is now focused on extending its reach to other global markets.
Entry to the Chinese market in December, Jardim said, was particularly timed to capitalise on peak seasonal demand, “where the product commands a premium price during the celebration of the Chinese new year”.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR FISHERFOLK
The addition of the new markets means increased opportunities for Jamaican fisherfolk who supply the company, he added.
Last year, Rainforest saw a 40 per cent jump in exports to Caricom countries “driven largely by the increase in traction of our products in St Lucia and Barbados,” Jardim said.
In November, Rainforest invested US$2 million in a seafood processing plant in Belize, deepening its operations in that country. Products processed at the plant are shipped to countries in the Caribbean but not to Jamaica.
In addition to its local plants in Kingston and Montego Bay, Rainforest has operations in St Lucia, Barbados and Belize. The company employs over 600 team members across the Caribbean, most of whom are based in Jamaica.
Jardim said the growth in exports was further bolstered by value-added products manufactured at Rainforest’s Kingston facility, which now includes smoked, pickled, formed and breaded proteins.
Rainforest has been in expansion mode for the last few years with additional processing space added to its Kingston plant and a US$10-million investment to develop a new site beside its existing Montego Bay location.
Jardim announced the expansion into five new export markets during a recent tour of its Kingston facility by Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith.