Market Access Capacity Building Programme for the CARIFORUM region

Posted on: November 22, 2016


The Project titled “Market Access Capacity Building Programme for the CARIFORUM region” and implemented under the ACP-EU TBT Programme, aims at enhancing trade competitiveness in collaboration with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export). The project’s goal is to develop and execute a comprehensive one-year market access capacity building programme for the CARIFORUM region aimed at strengthening the export capacity of agro-processing companies and the skills of services providers in the field of certification, with the emphasis on food safety, in the Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. The initiative is implemented in collaboration with the Caribbean Export and its local partners (ExporTT and JAMPRO).

Between May and September 2016, the project team specialists have delivered two practical training sessions on food safety and empowerment of access to market to 38 SMEs from the Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. The training and capacity building programme covered topics such as traceability, QMS, HACCP and hygiene-related norms, as tools aimed at accessing the EU and US markets.

“The workshop was very useful and will undoubtedly allow us to further improve our food safety and quality systems as well as our readiness to tap into new markets in the EU and worldwide” said Terri-Lee Patterson, -Rainforest Seafoods Ltd. (Jamaica), one of the trainees.

As Terri-Lee Patterson expressed, many other participants evaluate the results of the training highly positively and further manifestations of appreciation were shared in the following days such as:

 “On Friday I had a process to do and for clarity and structure I used the ICOM design that I learnt during the training session and I completed my task in about 15 mins. I was surprised. The objective was presented yesterday with a thumbs up” expressed Indira Naipual, Gingerbread Investments Limited (Trinidad & Tobago), one of the trainees.

The Project Team and the SMEs that participate in the training are aware that this is not an overnight success but a work-in-progress that requires commitment and constant attention to achieve higher results and increase the competitiveness of the Caribbean food SMEs. To this end the programme continued in November with additional activities. 12 companies – under the assistance of the Project Team and the local Trainers – had the task to develop pilot action plans to implement food safety requirements targeting the EU and US markets.

The project specialists and trainers are currently assisting 6 companies in Trinidad & Tobago on developing specific action plans. The response of the companies is good and the general commitment of the trainers who have engaged themselves in this exercise are responding to the challenge of helping the assisted companies to improve their food safety systems.

Finally, it is worth highlighting that the US supermarket chains have expressed interest in the project and are looking forward to the improvements in the regional food companies with the hope that these latter might become their suppliers.

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