SAN JUAN – Jamaica exported on Tuesday the first large shipment of certified bamboo charcoal to the United States, a move seen as key to the revival of an industry the government hopes will boost the economy and create jobs.
The 9,600-pound shipment is certified under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program and is expected to reach Houston in nine days, the Jamaican government said in a statement.
The charcoal is produced at Nelson’s Super Farm in St. Mary and has been packed in 1,600 six-pound bags with the label of U.S.-based distributor Jamaica Jeem’s Products and the USDA certification.
Apart from the 1,600 bags headed for the United States, 40 other bags have been sent to the Cayman Islands and Canada for “marketing purposes,” according to the Bamboo and Indigenous Materials Advisory Committee.
The Jamaican government is looking at the possibility of wide-scale cultivation of bamboo to enter an international market for bamboo products thought to be worth $270 million a year.
The focus is being placed on the development of charcoal, cosmetics, furniture, lumber, water filters, houses, and consumable products from the plant.