Perineau’s Exports, a Saint Lucian exporter with guidance and assistance from Export Saint Lucia (TEPA) successfully exported a test shipment of breadfruit to Miami, Florida on August 28, 2018.
This success is directly attributed to a workshop held in July of this year. Export Saint Lucia hosted an “EXPORTING TO THE USA” workshop at the Finance Administrative Centre in Castries. This workshop took the format of an open forum panel discussion and Business to Business meeting featuring three expert panelists namely; Tim Bascombe – Owner and CEO of World Foods Connections; Jonathan Havens – Lawyer and expert on the FDA and USDA, Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance; Emory Dabney – owner of Toro Imports, an import and export distribution company operating in the USA. Participants benefited from one-on-one sessions with industry experts in areas such as packaging, labeling and other product specifications tailored for US market entry.
Over the last few years it has been recognized that the demands for produce has grown significantly in foreign markets and this latest success is also testament to the MOU signed between Export Saint Lucia and the Department of Agriculture. The efforts of Export Saint Lucia, coupled with the tenacity of a local exporter and the interest and persistence of a United Sates buyer has reaped dividends of this workshop in quick time.
Mr. Emory Dabney of Toro imports during the last week of August received 500Kg of breadfruit from Saint Lucia, a much coveted fruit in the USA. This test shipment has passed with flying colors much to the delight of all involved especially Export Saint Lucia and the local exporter Perineau’s Exports.
Mr. Dabney said “thank you to the Trade Export and Promotion Agency of Saint Lucia TEPA, for a job well done in the first shipment of breadfruit from Saint Lucia to the US. It was a huge success, the buyers want more, the shipment went better than expected. I’m going to ship as much as I can until you guys run out of it. Everyone here was very happy; I’ve been getting phone calls all day about more.”
Following this test Mr. Dabney remarked that there is certainly room and potential for imports of much larger quantities, as there is no shortage of demand. “Keep it coming Saint Lucia!” The buyer has already expressed interest in purchasing an even larger shipment of breadfruit from the exporter as early as the second week in September.
Perineau’s Exports has expressed tremendous thanks towards Export Saint Lucia for the various avenues of help that have been derived as a result of the partnership. The company revealed that prior to the Services offered by Export Saint Lucia the business which started in 1992 experienced a number of challenges before it could even get off the ground.
Proprietor Mrs. Rosemary Perineau said “since they were directly involved with exporting generally for Saint Lucia, I found that was a good opportunity to find out what their work entails and how could they assist us in being better able to export produce from Saint Lucia.” Mrs. Perineau went on to say “I have gained a contact in the US, and I did more or less of a trial shipment and the result was very good. So I’m hoping TEPA and I can develop a greater relationship, where more produce can be exported to the US, which is the most difficult market for us.”
While geographically close, Saint Lucia’s exports to the United States have remained low. The major exporters are in condiments and fresh agricultural produce. Very few Saint Lucian exporters meet the requirements needed to enter the US market. Furthermore, even fewer can meet the marketing revenues needed to sustain market entry.
Mr. Jerson Badal, Director of Client Management Services at Export Saint Lucia reiterated “with this test shipment, the staff of Export Saint Lucia basically went through the entire stages, from contacting the distributor, to finding the shipping logistics, the actual freight weight, the cost, everything was basically done and recorded in house. So we know exactly what it takes to get it into the US, and how to reproduce it. So we have the expertise, we’re able to share with the exporter and this is something we’re hoping to replicate not only for this exporter but for anybody who wishes to sell breadfruits to the United States, as well as any other agricultural produce.”
Officials of Export Saint Lucia (TEPA) reiterated the agency’s commitment to the expansion of exports in markets such as the US, as it continues to chart a course with its mandate to increase the aggregate volume and quality of exports coming from Saint Lucia.