SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH COUNCIL
DEVELOPING JAMAICA’S ECONOMY THROUGH THE CREATION
OF VALUE ADDED PRODUCTS
With advances in technology comes
the evolvement of a dynamic and changing marketplace.
For Jamaica to successfully compete in the global market
it has to efficiently produce quality products (goods
and services) at international standards. Producing
quality products is a necessary ingredient for global
competitiveness and economic growth. The Scientific
Research Council (SRC) in its quest for excellence and
international recognition is engaged in developing Quality
Systems. This involves an integrated network of processes
guided by policies and procedures that influence the
quality of its products. Most successful quality systems
are guided by best practices for achieving the desired
level of quality for any process. The SRC’s current
activities to develop a certifiable quality management
system (QMS) that meets the requirements of the ISO
9001:2000 standard, and to have its laboratories accredited
to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard, are indicative of its
commitment to producing quality products and to establishing
confidence in the conformance of products to specified
The SRC is currently focusing on stimulating
growth in the agricultural sector that will act as a
catalyst for growth in other sectors such as manufacturing.
One of the results of its research and developmental
activities is the creation of value-added products from
local agricultural crops. These activities provide socio-economic
benefits to our nation in areas such as income generation
and employment creation. The SRC is cognizant of the
fact that economic growth is multidimensional and is
involved in activities aimed at supporting the sustainability
of local industries.
The SRC’s Food Technology Institute (FTI) was
developed to facilitate the development and growth of
the agro-processing industry. Numerous formulations
and technology packages are available at the SRC. A
number of new food products have been developed from
local raw materials for commercialization and subsequent
divestment to the private sector. The production of
value-added products has stimulated demand for agricultural
crops, thereby increasing market size for agro-products
and creating farming opportunities.
VALUE ADDED PRODUCTS - SRC has developed numerous
products from local crops e.g. flour from yam and breadfruit
and chips from banana, potato, plantain and breadfruit.
It has also developed numerous condiments, preservatives,
liqueurs, jams & jellies.
- SRC assisted in the development of a local sorrel
industry, which has created benefits to farmers of sorrel
and other agricultural materials (sugar, ginger, mango,
guava, spices), and service providers such as labourers,
truckers, processors, packers and distributors. The
SRC successfully developed a suite of sorrel products
under the ‘Hope Gardens Jamaica’ label,
namely: Hope Gardens Jamaica Sorrel Squash, Guava Sorrel
Squash, Mango Sorrel Squash, Sorrel Chutney –
spicy and original flavours, sorrel liqueur, sorrel
topping and two sorrel sauces. These sorrel products
are available for divestment to entrepreneurs.
PEA SOUPS –
The SRC in 2003 released four new, traditional Jamaican,
soups: gungo peas with meat and gungo peas without meat,
red peas with meat and red peas without meat. These
products were sold to the Jamaican Agro-Processors Association
(JAPA). The SRC will provide training and assistance
to JAPA to facilitate quality and standards. Other soup
products are being developed.
A vegetable patty is market ready and several other
formulations are available for starting new businesses.
Training - SRC has provided training and technical assistance
to numerous individuals, community groups and institutions/organizations
in various aspects of food processing e.g. Solar drying,
Juice Making and Meat Processing.
– jam, soup mix, mushroom-flavoured cake mix and
pickle were developed by the SRC. The SRC provided technical
assistance and mushroom spawn to farmers, facilitating
the commercial production and sale of local mushroom.
It successfully established a composting system, using
mushroom and other organic waste generated by the SRC.
Compost is now being produced and sold and the technology
is ready for transfer.
The Tissue Culture Unit engages in activities
aimed at increasing the competitive position of the
Jamaican agro-industrial sector through the production
of high quality disease free planting materials, and
the development and selection of improved cultivars.
These plantlets can be had in flexible order quantities.
Research work is being conducted on the propagation
of fruit trees and root crops; e.g. peach, ackee, coffee,
ginger and dasheen.
- Emphasis is placed on the development of value added
products and a nutraceutical industry. Work is also
being done to support the local essential oils industry.
Evaluation and quality control of the active ingredients
in products such as ginger and citrus, peppermint and
lemongrass as sources of nutraceuticals and functional
foods are also done by the SRC.
– Tests conducted by laboratories at the
SRC can assist manufacturers (especially those involved
in food processing) to deliver quality products. Some
of these tests aid in determining bacteria levels and
the presence of contaminants that can adversely affect
the product, resulting in spoilage and reduced shelf
life. Information on the nutritional and mineral content
of food is also available at the SRC.
The SRC can assist wastewater producers
to manage their waste. This includes treating wastewater
to facilitate its reuse for irrigation, as a fertilizer,
or for its return to water bodies without causing harm
to the environment. The WRMTC also uses anaerobic technology
to produce biogas from waste. Manufacturers can reduce
energy and other related costs by utilizing this service.
The SRC looks forward to greater collaboration
with entities such as the Jamaica Manufacturers Association
and takes this opportunity to encourage entrepreneurs,
government, financial agencies and NGOs to collaborate
and utilize the technologies available at the Scientific
Research Council and other agencies to reinvigorate
the economy. The expertise to transfer these technologies
is available and the time is opportune for redevelopment
of old industries and creation of new ones.
Let us seize the day!