KINGSTON, Jamaica — JP Tropical Foods has announced plans to double banana production for the back-to-school season, beginning September, aimed at making more of the fresh fruit available to students. In addition, the company in a news release said it will be commissioning, by mid-May, a state-of-the art pineapple packing facility at its Chocolate Walk factory, in St Mary, so as to make fresh pineapple also easily available for snacking.
According to David Martin, CEO of JP Tropical Foods, “In other countries of the Caribbean, as well as Central America and Europe where we do business, we are seeing a number of strategies being introduced by schools and parents to drive healthy eating and, in particular, healthy snacking among students. Therefore, we cannot allow Jamaica to fall behind in this trend.”
He said the focus of JP Tropical Foods this year will be to launch a campaign to help the young Jamaican population to understand the importance of a nutritional diet that supports growing minds and bodies. Martin also noted that whereas bananas have been the flagship fresh product offered by his company in recent times, JP Tropical Foods has invested heavily in pineapple cultivation, harvesting and packaging.
“The growth in production by late summer will come from improved yields and growing practices, as well as expanded acreage. As a result, we will be employing 308 persons to operate across 456 acres of banana and pineapple cultivations,” Martin said. Currently JP Foods’ flagship St Mary banana chips, which is produced in St Mary, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, is sold in eight countries.