The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) announces the awarding of over $255,000 USD or €197, 000 in financial assistance to CARIFORUM agro- processing firms as part of the Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP) funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).
“It is of paramount importance that food producers are able to compete on a global scale. This can only be achieved through meeting the stringent regulatory or certification needs for international food safety. The allocation of these funds will help these businesses in the first instance to get them export ready or be able to increase their exports to new markets. This is the boost that the sector in the region needs.” expressed Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the Agency.
The Agro-processing sector within the Caribbean is relatively fragmented and underdeveloped, comprising mainly of small and medium sized enterprises involved in the processing of traditional agricultural products for domestic use and export. There are a number of competitive constraints that currently hinder the expansion of the agro- processing sector, one of which is food safety requirements.
On May 28, 2014 the Agency released a Special Call for Proposals – Food Safety for CARIFORUM agro- processing firms, specifically to address the issue of exporters and producers not meeting certain food safety requirements for the EU market. Internationally, exporters are obligated to comply with the food safety requirements of the desired export markets.
A total of 55 applications were received, of which 22 companies have been awarded a grant to a maximum value of €10,000. The successful applicants were from Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. A full list of beneficiaries can be found at www.carib-export.com. It is anticipated that the beneficiaries of these grants wishing to export to the European Union market will utilise the funds to develop in a manner that ensures food production under standard quality control conditions that meet the sanitary and regulatory requirements of the EU marketplace such as HACCP, GAPs, GlobalGAP, ISO 14000, , BRC, QF 1000 and Primus GFS.