PRESS RELEASE – The Saint Lucia Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) seems determined to improve Saint Lucia’s cocoa industry. The organization recently submitted a proposal to Compete Caribbean with a view to secure funding in order to assist clients with export potential, Jerson Badal, TEPA Director of Client Services Delivery, said.
“For example, right now we know that there is great focus on cocoa, especially cocoa from Saint Lucia, which is considered one of the best in the world because of our volcanic soil and our mountains. We at TEPA are continually looking for funding areas to support projects that are involved in cocoa.
“We recently submitted a proposal to compete Caribbean to see if we could enhance some of the cocoa industries that we have in Saint Lucia. Right now, most of the funding agencies target women, the rural poor, the young people, and the unemployed, so we have tried to leverage those aspects to get the resources necessary to grow some of those industries,” Badal said.
The funding will assist with the improvement of quality standards, and may even assist with airfare and accommodation.
“The women in Micoud and Fond Assau are companies with export potential and part of our mandate is to provide training for these exporters, to get them on par with international standards,” Badal said. “While we have access to those large markets, market penetration is difficult because there are a number of technical barriers to trade. What we do at TEPA is train those exporters so that they can get over those hurdles in terms of the sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards, and get accepted into the USFDA (United States Food and Drug Administration). That is the type of training and support we provide.”
Such investments, Badal said, are usually undertaken when there is definite export potential that can benefit not only the individual, but also has macro-economic effects for the country. (OECS Business Focus)