Growth in demand for agricultural produce
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
by GIS

The Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA), said there is a significant increase in international demand for agricultural produce from Saint Lucia.

To meet that demand, TEPA has partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture to boost exports.

Jerson Badal, TEPA Director of Client Services Delivery, said a Memorandum of Understanding was recently undertaken between the two entities, with the aim to increase exports by 20 percent.

“Basically, what we have found is that the low hanging fruits that can be easily exploited for regional and international markets, lies within agriculture,” Mr. Badal said. “There is great demand internationally and regionally for agricultural commodities, so what TEPA decided to do was partner with the Ministry of Agriculture and set up some ambitious goals to increase agricultural exports by 20 percent in the first year of the MOU.”

In demand items include the island’s traditional export, bananas, with an increase in demand from the US and the UK for breadfruits, and an increase in demand from Canada for general agricultural produce.

TEPA’s market research unit, tasked with the promotion of Saint Lucian products in international markets, gathers valuable information on market demand that drives the company’s export strategy.

“At TEPA we have a market research unit that is charged with obtaining information on what is produced domestically, what has export potential, and who is ready for export. The unit also collects market information as to what the market desires,” explained Mr Badal. “Apart from this, the client management team also does a number of different promotions outside of the country. We do trade shows, and market visits where we visit various countries to showcase authentic Saint Lucian products. Most times these visits generate a demand for products, and this is then turned over to the clients in Saint Lucia to let them know this what is demanded.”

Mr Badal advised that the small niche markets that exist in Saint Lucia have the potential to expand exponentially on the international domain.

“What is a small niche market for us in Saint Lucia, in the UK, it could be millions of dollars. So imagine going into Estonia, into Belgium, into France; these small niche markets could translate into very large exports for Saint Lucia.”