Agro-exporters briefed on tapping EU markets
Stabroek News
January 27, 2004

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Several farmers and exporters in the agri-business sector were yesterday informed on opportunities in European markets, and the requirements needed to trade there.

A seminar was held at the Cheddi Jagan Research Cen-tre, High Street, Kingston, sponsored by the British High Commission, Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), National Agricultural R-esearch Institute (NARI) and the British Caribbean Cham-ber of Commerce, where agri-food consultants highlighting critical elements that would facilitate such trade.

Head of GO-Invest, Geof-frey DaSilva said the session would help to acquaint local producers with the required standards for exporting to the UK and the delivery schedules as well as competing markets. Facilitators touched on issues such as prices and costs in shipping fruit and vegetables to the UK as well as presentation of the products.

Da Silva sees accessing the UK market as a gateway to other European markets. As a follow-up to the open sessions yesterday, consultants will engage several companies on a one-on-one basis today to brief them on their positioning to access the markets.

"We don't see it as a one-shot attempt to access the markets," DaSilva said, but rather that of a medium-to-long-term perspective where both organic and non- organic produce will be focused on.

And according to Acting Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Fisheries, Crops and Livestock, Satyadeow Sawh, the seminar is one of several initiatives to further encourage diversification in the agricultural sector.

He noted that marketing of Guyana's agricultural products is an essential tool in determining the success of the sector as changing conditions in global trade demand securing and maintaining market access.

Guyana is keen to develop ardent and sustained measures to ensure achievement of its maximum potential, the minister further said. But he recognised that achieving this requires that efforts to secure increased production be complemented with appropriate marketing intelligence systems.

Sawh further alluded to efforts at gearing policy towards increasing earnings from traditional crops while encouraging production of domestic food commodities and non-traditional exports.

Among these are policies geared towards selling organic cocoa to the UK, and the trials of fresh fruit exports to that destination along with organic ginger, which will shortly be sold there.

Participants at the seminar interacted with facilitators from the UK including Dr Jonathan Turner, Dean of the Business School, Royal Agri-cultural College; Cirencester UK; and Tim Moruzzi, British Caribbean Chamber of Com-merce Agri-Food Consultant and Adviser to UK supermarket chains, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Morrisons.

The morning session highlighted market standards for exports to the UK and Europe as well as some ideas regarding the behavioural patterns of customers.

The participants were advised about the necessity of making sale items as presentable as possible to influence the customers' choice and they were also told about the maximum standard for spoilage at two percent, which is the limit for access to the UK markets.