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Agro processing set for take-off with CED

Agro processing set for take-off with CED

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The Agro Processing industry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is on its way to becoming globally competitive. The Centre for Enterprise Development (CED), in

collaboration with the Competitiveness Company State Advisory Unit of the Jamaican Exporters’ Association, held a Cluster Development Programme workshop, aimed at making the products of agro processors ready to meet the standards of global markets.{{more}} The workshop, which wrapped up on Thursday, 7 May 2009, was held at the CED office in Kingstown.

Speaking to Searchlight, Competitive Associate of The Competitive Company, Jhenelle McIntyre, explained that the main idea behind the workshop was the formation of an Agro business network, which would bring together all the firms in the value chain, to form a cluster. This cluster, she said, would identify the challenges facing the industry and the ways in which they can make their products ready for the global market. McIntyre further explained, that by working together, the firms in the value chain, will strengthen the competitiveness of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the global market, while maintaining their individual appeal to consumers.

Lead Consultant of the Cluster programme, Dr. Andre Gordon, stated that the cluster approach has been used in other countries and has proven successful. Gordon said, that if St. Vincent’s products meet the standards of the global market, this would bring about an increase in the country’s exports, and furthermore, an increase in foreign income.

Individuals and firms present at the workshop on Thursday included, businesses involved in production of seasoning, pepper sauce, wine and banana and plantain chips. Government bodies including, the Bureau of Standards, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade were also present.

According to Field Officer of the CED Business Gateway Project Nisha Glasgow, the response from the participants involved in the workshop has been good. “It has been good, we have returning persons, so the interest is there,” she said. The workshop is a continuation of a six-month project, aimed at the development of businesses. The last meeting was held in February 2009. (OS)

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