Jonathan Hickling has been trading with the Caribbean Islands for close to 40 years, in that time he has seen many changes in the supply and in the markets.

Along with general foodstuff he has also shipped onions, potatoes and garlic to the islands, "The Dutch were always better than the UK on price and it was hard to compete with them on onions and potatoes. But one year the UK was cheaper, probably due to a bad growing season in the Netherlands so I started to export them too."

Jonathan continued to ship these products, but said the next year the Dutch were just as competitive again. He has never shipped huge volumes, saying that the smaller islands just can't take a whole container full of onions or potatoes. The population on some of the islands is just too small.

Jonathan uses the Geest line departing from Portsmouth every Tuesday, on this vessel he doesn't need to ship in full containers.

The people and so the market demands have changed over the years, before it was mainly islanders who were the consumers, but these days the islands have become a top holiday destination as well a place to build a second home for the very rich.

Of course growing, storage and shipping methods have also changed a lot over the years and quality has greatly improved. However one of the main worries is the end customers ability to store the onions and potatoes correctly.

Products from some of the leading supermarkets in Europe are finding their way into some of the upmarket supermarkets in the islands to cater to the more sophisticated demands of these consumers, also the islanders are demanding more European style products. But the old ways are still visible in places with traditional stores still selling potatoes and onions from bags on the floor.

For more information:
Jonathan Hickling
Caribbean Trading Limited
Tel: 0044 1932 252727
Mobile: 0044 7831 372870