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3. Country presentations

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3.1 Antigua & Barbuda
3.2 Bahamas
3.3 Barbados
3.4 Belize
3.5 Dominica
3.6 Grenada
3.7 Guyana
3.8 Jamaica
3.9 St. Christopher-Nevis
3.10 Saint Lucia
3.11 St. Vincent and the Grenadines
3.12 Suriname
3.13 Trinidad and Tobago
3.14 Project Gcp/Jam/0161Net


3.1 Antigua & Barbuda

The agro processing industry in Antigua & Barbuda

Mr. Leonard Grant
Chemistry & Food Technology Division
Ministry of Agriculture

3.1.1 Background

Like in all the other Caribbean islands represented here, sugar and cotton have been the main agricultural crops. Sugar was harvested, made into what is called brown sugar, and then exported to England, where it was refined. Some of this refined sugar was reimported for local consumption. Cotton was harvested ginned, bailed and exported to England and made into cloth, some of which most likely was imported into Antigua/Barbuda. Fruits and vegetables were grown but not to the extent that would have needed any great amount of agroprocessing; they were mainly for the fresh market trade.

As things progressed in Antigua/Barbuda, the Government thought it wise to diversify its economy; so, a petroleum processing plant project was embarked upon. This, along with a small but growing tourism industry, took away some of the workers from the production of sugar and cotton.

By the 1960's, the profitability was decreasing because of shortage of labour and other factors, so the company which produced sugar wished to go out of business and sought a purchaser for its sugar lands and the sugar factory. The Government bought out the company, hoping to turn around the industry and make a profit. However, the situation was bottoming out by 1970. To take off the sugar crop was becoming more and more difficult each year. After the sugar crop of 1971 was harvested and processed, the factory was closed for modernization; later, it went back into production but not to its former heights. The workers who did not find jobs elsewhere stayed on the land and produced fruits and vegetables; but, due to the market size of the country, a glut is likely to occur.

3.1.2 Agro processing

Before dealing with agroprocessing, let me make mention that Antigua/Barbuda had a laboratory facility dated back to about 1900. The laboratory did soil, water, milk testing, etc.; so, scientific and technical work are not new. About 1972, the laboratory was upgraded and called Chemistry and Food Technology, with the purpose of assisting with the processing of the excess fruits and vegetables. The members of the staff went to work in earness and solved the immediate problem.

3.1.3 Processing unit

The Government was encouraged by what was done at the Chemistry and Food Technology, and funding was sought to build some type of processing facility. In 1978, the British Development Aid donated a pilot processing plant. This was a scaled down version of what was requested. The reason which given was that Antigua/Barbuda suffers periodically from droughts, so a huge processing plant was not required. However, very good use was made of the pilot scale processing unit. Because of the good work of the people at the processing unit, a dilemma was brought about. Every year more and more farmers sold their excess fruits and vegetables at the pilot scale processing unit.

This unit is now functioning as a factory, which it was not designed for, and is known as the Produce Chemist Laboratory (PCL) throughout the region. When the PCL started, the idea was that the chemists along with the staff would assist farmers with processing technology so that eventually entrepreneurs (farmers) would come forward and a processing factory would be built. This never happened. The farmers still carry their excess fruits and vegetables to the PCL, which cannot cope with a glut situation.

3.1.4 Cottage industry

There are other agroprocessors in Antigua/Barbuda besides the Government processing unit. However, there are some problems. The Chemistry and Food Technology Division gives technical assistant to the cottage type agroprocessors from time to time. They are helped with their quality and formulations so that these producers may have good products. Marketing is a problem with the small producers. It is a known fact that it is very difficult to get local products on the shelves of the very large supermarkets, despite the guarantees given. Some of these scale outfit take the product on consignment (credit) so a cash flow problem develops. There are also problems with packing materials; proper packaging materials are expensive; moreover, import duties and taxes are added to these items.

3.1.5 Government policy

As already mentioned, the Chemistry and Food Technology Division of the Ministry of Agriculture give assistance in training to the small agroprocessors from time to time. The Industrial Development Board is charged with responsibility of obtaining duty free concessions for locals. At times, this is difficult to arrange, so the agroprocessors have to pay these charges and add it to the products. This makes the local products uncompetitive in the market place. The Government has a policy with regard to local business but, although the small agroprocessors have to fit themselves under the programme, it is very difficult to obtain the incentives as stipulated.

3.1.6 Institutional assistance

Assistance is available from any Government Ministry or agency which is in a position to help. The Agriculture Department assists the farmers with the growing of their crops. The Chemistry and Food Technology Division assists with the technical

aspect of the processing of the fruits and vegetables. The Industrial Development Board assists with feasibility studies and cabinet decisions. The Ministry of Trade assists with licenses, statistics, and also cabinet decisions.

3.1.7 Equipment

The purchasing of any equipment is a major decision. Most food processing equipment is expensive. It is sourced from far off countries, so freight is high. In addition, duties and taxes produce more burden on the small agro processors. It must also be remembered that at times the equipment is paid for six months to one year before the processor gets possession of it. Therefore, a great deal of capital is tied up.

3.1.8 Conclusions

The paper deals with most of the information need by FAO. There are some items which I chose not to deal with; for example finance. Financing is available. There are a quite few commercial banks on the island. There is a great future for small scale processing in Antigua.

3.2 Bahamas

Country presentation

Department of Agriculture Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Industry

3.2.1 Background

Cottage industries do exist in the Bahamas, but on a very limited scale. Raw materials are available, especially during the winter months when gluts of various produce occur, and also tropical fruits are produced on small mixed farms or are found in the wild. The Government has instituted various policies and programmes, and enacted legislation to encourage the expansion of the agricultural sector through the development of agroindustries. There are some weaknesses in the development of agroindustries that need to be addressed, such as the cost of production of produce, the limited knowledge of processing technologies and financing. These problems will be addressed by the various Government institutions, such as the Department of Agriculture, the Bahamas Development Bank and the Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation. The development of agroindustries will:

a)Increase the income of farmers.
b)Provide employment opportunities and reduce unemployment.
c)Reduce wastage of agricultural products.
d)Reduce reliance on imported items and increase foreign exchange savings.
e)Assist in the diversification and strengthening of the Bahamian economy.

3.2.2 Present situation

1) Availability of raw materials: the cottage industry in the Bahamas consists of a mixture of individual farmers and small scale entrepreneurs. Due to the short seasonal nature of tropical fruits and vegetables, supply is not consistent; hence, there are periods of gluts and scarcities. Crops that are adversely affected by this erratic behavior are tomato, pineapple, mango, guava, avocado, got pepper, thyme and, to a lesser extent, corn. These crops are marketed through the Government Marketing System, the Packing Houses on the Family Islands and the Produce Exchange in Nassau and Freeport.

2) Financing: the Bahamas Development Bank and other Commercial Banks support local entrepreneurs who have the necessary collateral. The two major foodstore chain have shown a willingness to purchase locally processed products as long as they meet quality specifications, such as sanitary containers, with proper capping and labelling.

3) Equipment and technology available: the only type of equipment available to the cottage industry are kitchen utensils from the hardware stores and the hotel and restaurant supply stores. Appropriate technology is available from the Food Technology Complex.

4) Packaging material: some packaging material in the form of mason jars are available from local hardware stores, but these jars are very expensive and amounts are limited. The industry is currently reusing glass containers in the case of soda bottles new caps are used. The Food Technology Complex have sold bottles from its supplies to some individuals.

Staff from the Food Processing Unit have lectured to various church groups, at senior high schools, College of the Bahamas and teachers training workshops, and have held discussions with private individuals. There have been visits to the Family Islands with farmers to discuss the potential of food processing and also to meet with persons actively engaged in processing. The information was geared towards establishing small cottage industries. Demonstrations entailed proper bottling temperature, proper sanitary procedures, packaging materials, the use of weight and measure of ingredients and quality control. The cottage industries in the Bahamas is dominated by women; about 90 per cent of the persons engaged in processing are women.

3.2.3 Government policy for the development of agroindustries

The Government has recognized that the agricultural sector provides the greatest opportunity for the diversification and strengthening of the economy. To this end, the Government has initiated policies geared to encourage the expansion of agricultural production and the development of agricultural industries. The Government has also enacted various legislation that provide incentives to investors in agroindustries:

3.2.4 The free trade zone Act

This series of legislation provides relief from customs duty in each respective area of activity on raw materials, machinery and building materials. The Free Trade Zone Act goes beyond the others in that it includes relief from stamp duties and export fees.

3.2.5 Land lease and land clearing

One of the major areas of increased support and funding involves a comprehensive land clearing and land lease programme for farmers throughout the Commonwealth. The Government of the Bahamas owns some 2.0 million acres of land. Some of these lands have been identified as good agricultural land. The Government, through the Department of Lands, has instituted a land lease programme where farmers can lease the land for agricultural purposes. Farmers are able to have their land cleared with the Government financing up to 50 per cent of the cost.

The Agricultural Credit and Guarantees Fund is a credit programme which is used to facilitate agricultural and agro related loans. The Central Bank of the Bahamas is Trustee of the Guarantee Fund. The Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Industry, the Bahamas Development Bank and participating commercial banks are cooperating in the implementation of the Agricultural Credit Programme. All loans are guaranteed against loss to the extent of 100 per cent of the uncollected loan principle. The Department of Agriculture has instituted a Crop Diversification Programme. This programme is aimed at encouraging farmers to produce crops other than the usual winter vegetables that glut the market during the winter months. This would allow a greater variety of raw materials for processing.

3.2.6 Institutional assistance

A. The Ministry of Agriculture. Trade and Industry

The Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Industry is the principle government institution responsible for the development of agriculture, fisheries and the rural sector in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Its principle functions are:

a)To ensure greater linkages between agriculture, fisheries, tourism and the remaining sectors of the economy.
b)To reduce the dependence on imported foods.
c)To expand food production for the export market.
d)To use agricultural development in the creation of employment opportunities.

Besides its operating departments, the following institutions within the Ministry are closely related to agricultural development in the country:

B.The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation

To encourage investment in the country, the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) was established in 1981 as a central agency to assist all potential private investors desiring advice on investment opportunities. BAIC is responsible for industrial and agricultural development and providing infrastructural support. It utilizes the United Nations (UNIDO) investor search networks based in New York and is developing a variety of projects for manufacturing activities as well as an investment guide. The Government, through BAIC, is also promoting the development of small and mediumsized industries by developing additional factory space, intended to create a frame work of new exportoriented, labour intensive industries.

C. The Bahamas Development Bank

The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) is the main financial funding agent for agriculture and agrorelated industry. The bank was established by an act of parliament on 18 October, 1974, with the primary purpose to assist in the economic and technical assistance to Bahamian entrepreneurs in the areas of agriculture, fishing, marine and land transportation, tourism, manufacturing, service enterprises and other commercial operations. Although the dollar value of agricultural loans is insignificant and no loan was made for the cottage industry, in the case of agricultural project the bank will finance up to 80 per cent of the total project cost, with 20 per cent equity being the necessary input on behalf of the borrower. Agriculture and agrorelated loans are funded at 2 per cent below the normal rate of 12 per cent.

The BDB is funded by both domestic and external resources. The major sources of domestic funding are paid up capital, lines of credit and deposits from domestic institutions, such as the National Insurance Board and the Central Bank of the Bahamas. External funds are obtained through loan and lines of credit from regional and international lending agencies, such the Caribbean Development Bank, the InterAmerican Development Bank and the European Development Fund. In addition, the Government passed legislation that increased the authorized capital of the BDB from 10 million to 50 million. The capital base is expected to be strengthened with the injection of $10 million in equity over the next few years. These funds are being made available through the Government of the Bahamas by a loan of $6 million from IDB, signed in May, 1989. Under the loan agreement the Bahamas Government contributed $4 million.

3.2.7 Extension services and training

The Extension Unit of the Department of Agriculture is responsible for extension services and training. However, the officers at the Research Station also make extension visits. The extension officers are stationed in the Family Islands and provide various services to farmers. In the case of processing, requests will be made by the Extension Officer to have a Food Technologist visit his island to conduct training sessions. The extension services are directed at crop production, marketing information, technical aspects of crop production and quality assurance.

3.2.8 Assistance in research and development

In 1984, the Food Technology Complex was established. Its main objective was to seek to expand and further develop the food industries through research and development. The Unit has researched many products; however, only over the last two years have we seen a keen interest in the development of cottage industries. The Unit offers to potential processors information on processing, as well as equipment sources and other needs. The Unit has also analyzed processed products for processors and offers suggestions on improving the products, if needed.

3.2.9 Technical, economical and organizational aspects of the development of small agroindustries

A. Weakness

a)The high cost of agricultural production and the variable quantity and quality of raw materials.
b)The limited knowledge of proper processing technology together with a lack of smallscale food processing equipments.
c)The lack of proper packaging materials.
d)The availability of trained personnel to man the enterprises.
e)Financing is available, but at regular interest rates.

B. Requirements

1) Raw materials: Agricultural production in the Bahamas is characterized by gluts and shortages due to seasonality of some corps. In the development of processing industry it will be necessary to grow raw materials specifically for processing. This will be achieved by:

2)Processing and training:

a)Training programmes must be conducted to train the farmers and entrepreneurs in the proper technologies for food preparation, preservation and processing, quality assurance, financing opportunities, requirements and procedures.
b)Examine the methods of packaging with a view to addressing the high cost of containers and the non availability of containers.

3)Marketing: In order to stimulate the development of agroindustries, it will be necessary for the Government to displace imported foods by locally processed foods when the necessary management systems are in place and the local industry can produce products of good quality at reasonable prices. Opportunities for linkages with the tourist industry should also be fully researched and developed as a matter of priority.

3.2.10 Local honey production

Honey production in the Bahamas has been steadily increasing, especially over the past three years. This increase would be more significant had it not been for the availability of large quantities of imported honey, but also because farmers are unable to compete with the relatively low price of imported honey due to the presence of import duty on materials and equipment for local honey industry. Another contributing factor in the recent past was the unattractive packaging materials of the local honey. This situation is under review and there has been a degree of improvement. It is hoped that consumers will be supportive of the local honey.

Approximately $ 70,000 was spent on imported honey in 1989. The value of local honey was approximately for the same year was $ 22,000. Islands involved in honey production are: Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera and New Providence. Eleuthera produced about 51 per cent of all local honey in 1990. There is no information on production on the islands of Andros and New Providence; two possible reasons are that the producers wanted to restock, or producers are now only involved in honey production as a hobby. The Department of Agriculture is of the view that a tariff should be in place in order to protect local producers. Presently, about 33 per cent of the local honey producers are considering exporting their product to the U.S. market.

Table 1. Local honey production by island 1990

ABACO 1.664 * 7
ANDROS 5.188 0
ELEUTHERA 13.000 51
TOTAL 25.352 100



Table 2. Consumption and value of honey 1990 1994

1990 24728 24728 *** 32944 32944
1989 95531 11750 83781 90162 21328
1988 90925 7200 83725 78331 ***
1987 107361 16650 90711 118916 45788
1986 81502 *** 81502 70711 ***
1985 93775 *** 93775 85958 ***
1984 151596 *** 151596 52923 ***


3.2.11 List of processors and Cottage industries processed products

3.2.12 Summary of proposal

A. Background

The development and strengthening of the food industry has been identified as a means of diversifying the agricultural sector and so, aid in the diversification of our tourist based economy. The Bahamas imports some $3 million dollars of sauces, including hot sauce. By processing the hot sauce locally, we can reduce the flow of foreign exchange, provide employment, increase the market and encourage the production of hot peppers.

B. Objectives

a)To increase the income of farmers.
b)To provide employment opportunities and reduce unemployment.
c)To reduce wastage of agricultural products during gluts.
d)To reduce the reliance on imported hot sauces and thus increase foreign exchange savings.

C. Programme of activities

a)Develop product.
b)Conduct marketing survey.
c)Obtain the necessary finances from the Development Bank.
d)Obtain crown lands from the Government on which to construct the plant.
e)Obtain the necessary licenses and incentives such as duty free concessions.
f)Construct plant.
g)Purchase equipment, packaging materials and ingredients.
h)Arrange contract agreements with farmers to purchase peppers.

D. Equipment requirements

1)Storage of raw materials:




3.3 Barbados

Present status and future potential of the cottage agro industries in Barbados

Ms. Gloria Gooding Agricultural Aide Ministry of Agriculture

3.3.1 Introduction

Agriculture has declined in importance over the years as a major contributor to the country's GDP, but it continues to be an invaluable asset to the economic development of Barbados. The provision of food must continue to be one of the basic functions of the Agricultural Sector as the prevailing imbalance between food imports and exports tend to have an adverse effect on the balance of payment position. Government continues to pay particular attention to this situation and has undertaken measures to diversify by encouraging increased domestic food production, in an effort to address this agricultural trade balance by increasing agricultural export earnings and reducing food imports to the lowest possible levels. Some other benefits to be derived from this increased production are:

3.3.2 Food supply

Sugar is still the most important crop accounting for about 40 per cent of commodity export and employing over 10 per cent of the total labour force. Its production has, however, declined steadily from 172,000 tones between 1950 and 1968, to about 60,000 tons today. Over this same period, fruit and vegetable production has also increased from 300 acres in 1969 to about 2,000 in 1981 and continues to increase. Some factors contributing to this increase in food production in particular are:

3.3.3 Marketing system

Due to the lack of an organized group of cottage industry owners/workers, no structured marketing systems are in place. Most of these entrepreneurs do their marketing by personal contact with business houses, small village shops, and a one to one basis. Advertising by the print and electronic media is also used by the more established individual entrepreneur.

Table 1. Some selected produce available in quantities to support cottage industry development

Banana Moderate Feb.- July
Carambola Limited Jul.- Nov.
Cherry Moderate Jul.- Dec.
Coconut Dried Moderate All year
Dunks High Nov.- Feb.
Golden apple High Oct.- Jan.
Guava Moderate All year
Mango Limited Apr.- Aug.
Passion Fruit Limited Oct.- Jan.
Paw Paw Moderate All year
Breadfruit High.- Mar.  
Carrots Limited Dry Season
Cucumbers Moderate All year
Hot pepper Moderate Sep.- Jan
Onion Limited Feb.- Apr.
Sweet potato Limited All year
Cassava Limited Nov.- Feb.
Thyme Moderate All year
Marjoram Limited All year


3.3.4 Financing

Most of these small enterprises are normally started with personal finance. There are some who seek funding through loans from the National Development Foundation, Women In Development or the Barbados Development Bank. Each agency sets up its own loan qualifying requirements.

3.3.5 Ownership

Cottage industries in Barbados are most privately owned and operated by family members. Since most of these enterprises are operated from the family kitchen/home, equipment used falls within the category of house hold equipment, which is readily available. Some pieces of commercial equipment are available at the local agents. When commercial equipment is used, agents or importers arrange for technicians to service and maintain this equipment.

Table 2. Products now being produced in the cottage industry in Barbados

Banana Chips, Jam, Wine Vinegar Snacks
Carambola Dried fruit, Fruit syrup Snack, Drink
Cherry Jam, Syrup, Wine Sweet
Coconut Dried Dunks Candies Candies
Golden apple Jam, Chutney, Fruit syrup, Wine Sweet
Guava Jam, Jelly, Stewed fruit Wine Sweet
Mango Jam, Jelly Stewed fruit, Chutney Sweet
Passion Fruit Fruit syrup, Canied fruit Sweet
Paw Paw Jam, Stewed fruit in syrup Sweet
Breadfruit Chips, Wine Sweet
Carrots Bottled pickled, Wine Savoury
Cucumber Pickle Pickle
Hot pepper Hot pepper sauce, Bajan Condiment
seasonings Condiment
Onion Bajan seasonings Condiment
Sweet potato Chips Snack
Cassava Starch, Flour Flour


NB: Wines and liqueurs are produced using most of the above.

3.3.6 Packaging materials

The nature and categories of processed foods allow for the use of two types of packaging materials, i.e. glass bottles and poly/plastic bags.

3.3.7 Training/extension

Training needs in the area of food processing is limited to the formal education system, i.e. at an institution such as the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, supplemented by the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and the Girls Industrial Union. In addition, some training is offered occasionally by the Barbados Agricultural Development Cooperation's Processing Unit. Business training is made available by the funding agencies W.I.D. and the N.B.F.

3.3.8 Research and development

Research and development needs are currently being done by the recently established processing unit at the Barbados Agricultural Development Cooperation, whose primary function is the development of products using locally produced fruit and root crops; this technology will be passed on to processors.

3.3.9 Participation of women

A survey by this participant in a number of supermarkets reveal that most of the local food products reaching the consumer in any quantity are being produced by women. Lending agencies also confirm that most of their applicants are women. Women also outnumber men in the business training courses being given by these agencies.

3.3.10 Government policies

The Government will seek to ensure that all those who earn their livelihood from agriculture are able to enjoy a reasonable standard of living. This will be achieved through the following:

In order to better ensure transfer of technology to the small farm sub sector, the research and extension service will devise a special outreach programme. The programme will make use of modern communication techniques. The land shortage problem will be addressed through the implementation of new land settlement schemes. These schemes, however, will be carefully designed so that the experiences within Barbados or within the wider Caribbean area can be exploited. In general, the Government will strive to ensure that the most efficient production and management technology can be brought to bear on the agricultural production process, so that the farm productivity can be maximized and farm profits optimized to the benefit of the farm population.

The Government expects that during the years ahead, the BADC will pay ever increasing attention to its developmental role. In this connection, the corporation will seek to contribute substantially towards:

Emphasis will be placed on the promotion of large and medium sized agro processing operations, as well as the cottage industries.

3.3.11 Proposal for the development of a small commercial enterprise goldenapple project

a)Jam and chutney.
b)Puree to be supplied to hotels and fast food industries.
c)Nectar to be used in the drink industry.

3.3.12 Background and justification

With the diversification of agricultural production, the establishment by the Government of the fruit tree nursery, the sale of fruit trees, and the establishment of fruit orchard, fruit production has increased. Production far outstrip the local fresh consumption, whereas limited quantities of this fruit is now being exported. Harvesting and marketing is also very unorganized and much of this fruit falls to the ground, where it remains and rots.

Farmers could greatly improve their income if they had appropriate harvesting equipment, technology for storage and processing facilities at the family level to demish crop losses through spoilage during the glut season. Processing into one or more of these product would extend the shelf-life and help the farmer obtain a better price for this crop. The economic climate at present suggest that efforts be made at reducing the need to import items that can be produced locally.

3.3.13 Objectives

a)To utilize the excess produce not taken by the fresh and export markets.
b)To prepare and present fruits in other forms, during and out of season.
c)To encourage local families to develop attitudes and potential for business ventures.
d)To encourage the family to be responsible for its own economic development through pooling resources.
e)To maximize the use of the limited finance available.

3.3.14 Progranune of activities

a)Identify the family for additional training.
b)Development of skills through follow up training in product development to marketable standards.
c)Identify a source of raw materials.
d)Make financial arrangement, funding.
e)Purchasing of supplies and additional equipment.

3.3.15 Processing and preparation

a)Inspection of raw materials.
b)Weighing of standardize quantities.
c)Washing, peeling, cutting.
e)Heat treatment.
f)Bottling and labelling.

3.3.16 Equipment and utensils required

Field crates: plastic Pickers and nets Weighing equipment scale Bowls: plastic/stainless steel - various sizes Knives: paring knives, utility knives Spoons: wooden and metal with heat resistant handles Funnel: wide mouth for easy filling of containers Jar lifter: for handling hot jars Cutting Board: wooden or plastic - cutting and handling food Strainers: plastic and metalholding fruit, straining, etc. Pails with covers: storage of pre-processed foods Tubs: plastic and in various sizes to hold food for different jobs Saucepans: flat bottoms well fitting covers heat resistant handles Pressure cooker, to ensure commercial sterility of acid foods Stove with several surface burners (gas or electricity) Sink: double sink and drain board stainless steel Cool Storage: refrigerator, to hold food at low temperature Thermometers, to measure temperature of product being process Heat sealer: heat seal plastic bags containing processed foods Measuring cups: heat resistant Measuring spoons, pH meters for measuring acidity in jams and jellies.






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