Wednesday, 4 June 2014


Recent figures have indicated that the global food and beverage industry is growing at 3.5 per cent per annum, and is projected to be worth more than US$7 trillion this year.

Referring to those statistics, Exec-utive Director of Caribbean Export Development Agency, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, explained that her agency realises that in order for CARIFORUM firms in that industry to retain and increase their share of the global market, they must be equipped to enter export markets and maintain a competitive edge.  

Her comments came during the Regional Food Safety Preparedness Meeting, which took place at the Hilton Barbados Hotel last week Wednesday.
Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development
Agency, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, addressing the meeting.
A section of the audience which attended
the meeting last week Wednesday.
Using the example of the EU market, Coke-Hamilton noted that while having successfully completed the Economic Partnership Agreement has given products from the region duty-free quota-free market access to the European Union, it is still important that such products meet the standards of the importing country.

“This is increasingly true given emerging global food safety requirements. For CARIFORUM food and agro-producers, merely stating that our food products are of a high quality is insufficient to satisfy the demands of consumers and government abroad,” she warned.

She explained that when exporting, such producers must meet a number of requirements and standards for food and food products, which vary from country to country. The Caribbean Export head noted that in addition to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, exporters must also meet the technical barriers to trade requirements which cover such areas as food labelling, nutritional claims and packaging, which have implications for the Caribbean private sector.

The Executive Director contended that unless regional firms comply with international standards, they will be constrained to the local and regional markets, which are also open to imports which create competition for those products.

“It is, therefore, imperative that all players with the mandate to support private sector development must play their role in getting our firms equipped to penetrate export markets. Firms need to be made aware of the issues that affect them, they need financial and technical assistance with meeting the new and emerging global food safety requirements and they also need con-tinued efforts at both export development and promotion,” she added.

Coke-Hamilton’s comments came as she noted that several CARIFORUM firms have already achieved success in the export market. Among them, she stated, are Banks Holdings from Barbados, Marie Sharpe from Belize and Baron Foods from St. Lucia, which were awarded the coveted Taste 13 Award at ANUGA 2013 – the largest food and beverage trade show in the world. She said their accomplishment should be lauded, as only 54 of the almost 7 000 companies exhibiting products at ANUGA received that award.

“This is testimony to the fact that we have world class brands doing business every day in our region. International buyers were impressed with the value added and differentiation displayed among our companies… Success stories like these indicate that we can compete at the global level. It should also motivate us to do our utmost to ensure that more firms can have similar stories, which in the end can only auger well for regional economic growth. What’s left is for us to put all the structures in place, whether it is at the policy, the business support, or firm level, to truly reap the benefits,” the Caribbean Export head added. (JRT)

No comments:

Post a Comment