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FROM THE DIASPORA: Soursop, the Solution to Jamaica’s Economic Woes

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Denise N. Fyffe.

The global recession has not been partial with its effects of economic downturn, poverty and all around global hardship. While first world countries and developed countries have recovered more quickly; countries like Jamaica are still reeling from the negative socioeconomic consequences. In such times through history, in order to survive, true innovation and visionary strategies must be employed to get people employed and back to work. The Jamaican Soursop offers such a chance, if only we would heed the call.

It is important to note that Jamaica is one of the only places where you will find theJamaican Soursop fruit fresh, in markets or easily accessed on trees growing in people’s yards. It is a part of the custard apple/ atemoya family as well as the custard apple, sweetsop and cherimoya. This heart shaped fruit is only viably grown in tropical regions and is least viable in cold regions. The Jamaican soursop species is certainly one of the most edible and viable. Jamaica is so successful in growing this crop that it grows upwards of 15 pounds.

In terms of exporting the Jamaican Soursop fruit, it is not maintained as large scale as it should. Countries in the cold region like Canada,United Kingdom or United States would certainly jump at the chance to have such a curative fruit in their stores and markets. In recent times, people have been more interested in seeking natural and organic remedies and food. The Jamaican Soursop would do especially well, where there is a large collection of theJamaican Diaspora.

Honolulu, Hawaii has the demand for this fruit, but the Jamaican soursop is not being supplied enough to fill that demand. Caribbean islands such as Bahamas and Bermuda also grow the Jamaican Soursop. Grenada is known to export the soursopto Trinidad as well. Venezuela and Costa Rica were also known to process theJamaican Soursop in years past. The fruit is also used to make jellies, jams, ice cream, tarts, syrup and sherbet; it is also incorporated in other herbal, natural and organic products.

Marketing this fruit and its benefits would not be difficult. South American and tropical countries are already familiar with the soursop and people in the African countries use this for medicinal purposes as well. Because the soursop tree cannot grow in cold regions, the demand will grow even more; as long as proper marketing and advertising strategies are used and maintained.

Jamaica certainly stands to develop a more viable and lucrative export economy if truly curative and natural products like the Jamaican Soursop are explored. Other remedies contained in the lignum vitae and other trees would aid our economic development through health and herbal exports.


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