Upcoming technical mission targets the London and Miami markets for Caribbean produce

Jai Rampersad

22 September 2023 – Bridgetown, Barbados – Caribbean farmers may soon have additional export opportunities for their produce as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) facilitates a market assessment mission in the international market centers of London, England, and Miami in the United States.  At a recent Dasheen workshop in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in July 2023, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, and Rural Transformation, identified new export markets as a crucial need for the growth of the agricultural sector.

Apart from dasheen, market data will be obtained on the demand for and distribution channels for additional Caribbean products such as hot peppers, ginger, soursop, mangoes, turmeric, and value-added goods like jams, jellies, dehydrated fruits, and juices as well as frozen and pre-peeled root crops.

The mission reinforces the objective of the Windward Islands Food Production and Trade Corridor, an initiative launched by FAO on February 3, 2023, aimed at strengthening national and regional value chain development. Several strategic meetings and site visits will be conducted in London, England from 27 September to 4 October, followed by Miami, USA from 4 to 11 October, led by Mr Jai Rampersad, FAO’s Trade Development Consultant.

The consultant will meet with the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines High Commission Office during the first portion of the trip in England, which will aid in organizing site visits to important markets and linkages to strategic ties to trade prospects. The pre-arranged meetings are set to cover several topics, including products, prices, quality standards, industry challenges, and logistics. Similar meetings will be scheduled with other high commission offices of the Windward Islands and other Caribbean countries. To review the current distribution routes, competition, prices, volumes, difficulties, and commodities, key stakeholders will be met and site visits to a variety of Caribbean marketplaces will be made during the trip.

The mission’s second phase, which will take place in Miami from October 4 to October 11, will examine existing trade practices and discover any prospective business prospects.  Like the London mission, the consultant would visit the current Caribbean commodities markets and meet with key distributors to assess market needs.

The mission’s findings will be shared with local farmers to help them better understand price fixing, and distribution channels, as well as information on the demands and requirements of the market in terms of quality, packaging, and logistics.

In outlining the upcoming mission, Mr Rampersad stated, “International market opportunities have consistently been a critical challenge to the agriculture sector in the Caribbean.  The development of these markets can be achieved through the creation of a facilitating environment for trade, such as an expanded distribution network, market entry support, logistics assistance, and communication of information. This would complement efforts to improve domestic production systems and foster additional trade within the agriculture industry.”

Dr Renata Clarke, FAO Subregional Coordinator stressed, “We need more market-driven value chains in the region, and to be producing smarter based on our understanding of those market needs. Our ongoing collaboration with countries with similar visions and our work with farmer’s organizations across the region aims to overcome this challenge”.

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  1. Zandoli
    September 25, 2023

    We Get all sorts of produce from the Caribbean and for the most part, they are of high quality except Julie Mangoes.
    At the grocery stores we get mangoes from many tropical countries – Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Isreal, Dominican Republic to name a few. These mangoes are fully ripe and are sweet and juicy.

    The Julie mangoes which I believe come from Jamaica are a different story. They are picked way too young so they don’t ripen properly. They are all wrinkled when they ripen and have this awful taste. Many times I have had to throw them out despite selecting the best of the bunch.
    Despite loving Julie mangoes as much as I do, I stopped wasting my money on that crap.

    All this to say, send your produce to foreign markets, but pay attention to the quality.

    • Stand With Your People
      September 28, 2023

      Seems it’s all about you, your feelings were hurt but look at the big picture. Though quality isn’t bad where I live, a few bad ones like the Mexican Mangoes but even those I won’t criticize as they need the income. But Ours’, more opened markets, I stick with my people as others stick with theirs.

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