Jamaica can earn US$300m from nutraceuticals, medical cannabis

Renowned scientist Dr Henry Lowe has pointed to the huge foreign exchange potential of nutraceuticals and medical cannabis and says that Jamaica needs to move quickly to capture its share of what is a rapidly growing global market.

“With limited effort, there is an estimated potential earning of over US$300 million from these two products in the next three years if the products are properly marketed,” Lowe, who has developed a number of nutraceutical products using Jamaican plants, told the 50th anniversary annual general meeting of the Jamaica Exporters’ Association last week.

“If we in Jamaica are to compete internationally, the regulations, such as the licensing process and standards for commercial ventures must be transparent, fair, open, and accessible to the public. However, if we are not careful and [are] taking too long, we will be overtaken and made redundant,” Lowe warned.

Known internationally for his cancer and nutraceutical research, Lowe said that there is now recognition that if Jamaica is to overcome its financial problems, partly through exports, the country needs to move away from the reliance on products such as sugar, banana and bauxite to new non-traditional products and services.

“This new direction must be driven by innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, supported by science and technology,” he argued.

He pointed to National Nanotechnology Initiative data in 2015 showing that the estimated value of nutraceuticals export from Jamaica was US$12,671,942, while imports stood at US$32 million. (Jamaica Observer)

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