Rum producers plugging integrated development and brand promotion
Stabroek News
July 24, 2004

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Regional Rum Producers are pursuing a 70 million Euro-funded Integrated Development Pro-gramme for the Caribbean rum sector as well as a strategy for the promotion of Caribbean branded rum.

These developments were highlighted at a series of recently held meetings of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers' Association Inc. (WIRSPA), including a Board of Directors Meeting, a Technical Advisory Committee Meeting and training seminars on the fermentation and distillation of rum.

"The Board was pleased to note that the (Integrated Development) project was now rapidly picking up momentum with a substantial increase in the number of applications for assistance being received.

"The directors were also pleased to note the progress being made in the development of a strategy for the promotion of Caribbean branded rum," a press release stated.

Guyana attended the Board Meeting as well as directors from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Board agreed to admit rum producers' associations in Belize, Haiti and Grenada, so all African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Caribbean rum producing countries with the exception of St Vincent and Dominica are now members of the regional association.

According to the release, the directors considered in relation to rum, the status of negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations between the Caribbean and the European Union, and the status of negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

They also welcomed the initiative for a new and improved trade relationship with Canada. The board also acknowledged the support it has been receiving from regional institutions such as Caricom and Cariforum.

A meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee received presentations on new technologies to reduce counterfeiting of products, improving production efficiencies and regional and world molasses availability.

A WIRSPA two-part seminar later dealt with the preparation of raw material and the fermentation of such raw material (sugar cane molasses, sugar cane juice or syrup).

The seminar was conducted by Dr Virender Sheorain, an expert in the area of sugar cane fermentation with 28 years of experience.

Then Stuart Nickerson who has 20 years experience in distillation and energy efficiency, conducted the second part of the seminar which focused on many aspects of distillation.