Savour the Flavour – Discover delicious sauces, seasonings, pastes, pulps, flours, oils and more from the Caribbean

Salt, fat, acid and heat are four popular elements of good cooking.[1] For the Caribbean region, these just might expand to five elements: salt, fat, acid, heat and sweet. From a history of sugar plantations to harvests of juicy tropical fruits, sweet might just be the 5th element in the treasure trove of flavours that influence Caribbean cuisine. From sweet mango pepper sauces to desicated coconuts, fruit cordials and frozen fruit pulps. Sweet features prominently alongside other key elements of cooking in Caribbean condiments, sauces, marinades, flours and other processed food products.

The Caribbean region, known for its rich cultural heritage, evolved through a convergence of cultural influences, including Indigenous, African, European, Indian and Asian, across various islands. These diverse influences, paired with each island’s own evolving culture and available plants and other ingredients, has birthed a captivating fusion of flavours that is different across every island.

At the renowned Food Industry trade fair, Agroalimentaria 2023, top exporting Caribbean brands and products will be showcased. These include products from Jamaica in the North to Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago in the South, to Westward Belize, and the Eastern islands of the Lesser Antilles, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A taste of the Caribbean will be showcased, offering a myriad of processed and pantry food products to delight palettes.

One trend report indicates that “consumers are keen to try exotic street food flavours as a form of escapism”, that “table sauces, seasonings and oils will serve as “Unguilty Pleasures” and that vegan and holistic health options will be in focus[2]. Businesses across the Caribbean are poised to respond to trends and meet consumer desires. International buyers can discover some of these top exporting businesses at Agroalimentaria 2023.

Synonymous with Jamaican cooking is jerk. C Benjamin Group Ltd (formerly Benlar Foods LTD) offers up this culinary delight and other sauces and pastes that are 100% vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. Consumers can enjoy Jamaican flavours like curry jerk paste and hot jerk paste along with other saucy delights like honey-ginger pepper sauce, sweet mango pepper sauce and scotch bonnet pepper sauce.

Serving up an array of sauces is Belizean company, Marie Sharp’s. A family-owned business that makes their signature product with the freshest vegetables from their farm and the finest ingredients, Marie Sharp’s lives up to their slogan, “Proud Products of Belize”. Distributed worldwide, Marie Sharp’s sauces boast farm-to-bottle freshness with a sharp focus on flavour. Their Habanero pepper-sauce boasts a unique carrot-based blend that achieves the perfect balance between flavour and heat. Available in a variety of blends, including sweet and smoked varieties, Marie Sharp’s sauces promise to bring the heat and deliver mild to comatose heat levels.

Heat, sweet and zingy goodness are among the vibrant flavour offerings of VincyFresh, from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Zingy garlic and ginger marinade, sweet ginger hot sauce, vibrant herb and pepper marinade and hot Caribbean pepper sauce feature among the lineup of tantalising offerings. Locally owned and managed, VincyFresh products are crafted from the finest ingredients grown by local farmers. Vincy Fresh offers a range of marinades, sauces and frozen fruit pulp.

Blending sweet with heat in gourmet hot pepper sauces is Llewellyn´s. Crafted in Rawlins Village, “the breadbasket of Nevis,” these culinary creations embrace a medley of locally sourced treasures from the village and from sibling island, St. Kitts. These gourmet sauces promise character with authentic island flavours like thyme, mango, ginger and guava to complement the hot, spicy sweetness of red and yellow scotch bonnet peppers. A product of British-born chef, Llewellyn O¨Neill Clarke, Llewellyn´s pepper sauces capture the essence of Nevis. In addition, Llewellyn’s also offers cooking oil, vinegar and salad dressing, a compliment to any pantry.

Wheat Flour, a traditional pantry staple, has been replaced or complimented in some pantries by naturally gluten-free and vegan root vegetable flours like cassava. Consumers in search of vegan, natural and healthy lifestyles, including those with gluten sensitivities, may find a range of modern pantry staples to suit their lifestyle from Marthiland, out of Suriname. Mathiland’s Bam Bino line of products includes the naturally gluten-free cassava flour and other products to complement a healthy lifestyle like rice flour, banana porridge, wheat semolina and icing sugar.

Nut flours, like coconut flour, also feature prominently in gluten-free and healthy lifestyle options. Only Coconuts, a brand of Precision Global Inc., brings the versatility of coconuts to market, with a range of products from this naturally gluten-free and high-fibre superfood. Their product line-up features naturally gluten-free coconut flour, virgin coconut oil, refined coconut oil, desiccated coconuts, and coconut chips. Packed with healthy fats and antioxidants, coconuts can support health and wellness when regularly consumed. By carefully hand-picking every coconut and monitoring all stages of the process, this brand offers only the best, only the purest, Only Coconuts.

RHS Marketing, an award-winning company from Trinidad and Tobago takes pride in manufacturing products that have their roots in the Caribbean and its cultural diversity. They are one of the leading manufacturers and exporters of premium quality sauces, seasonings, spices, condiments, jellies, fruit cordials and essences, along with drinks from one of the hottest new wellness trend ingredients: seamoss. Their offerings include products for both sweet and savoury preparations: ranging from essences like nutmeg, mixed, clove, banana and kola to condiments like mango kuchela, tamarind chutney, chalta amchar to West Indian pepper sauces, hot sauces and even a Vintage West Indian pepper sauce, among other products.

The fusion of culture and tradition expressed in Caribbean processed food products unlocks a world of flavor and naturally healthy ingredients in an array of products to compliment and enhance modern food experiences.

[1] Norsat, Samin. “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.” SALT FAT ACID HEAT, Accessed 22 May 2023.

[2] “The Future of Table Sauces, Oils and Seasonings – 2023 : Consumer Market Research Report : Mintel.Com.” Mintel, 10 May 2023,

A Hot Topic: Entrepreneur Nick Bynoe, Creator of ‘Old Duppy Foods’

It goes without saying that the traditional condiment of choice in most Caribbean households is (hot) pepper sauce.

Fiery, tangy, savoury, sweet; whichever way it comes, pepper sauce is beloved by almost everyone in the region and is put it on everything from salads and sandwiches to rice and meat, and even mixed in curries, soups, and stews.

Some people might rely on store bought bottles of pepper sauce, but a lot of households have their own ‘secret’ recipes which have been passed down through generations.

Barbadian entrepreneur Nick Bynoe started making his own version of pepper sauce when he returned to the island in 2015 after living for some time in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Canada.

Nick loves food and cooking but had no formal experience in the food industry after spending most of his career in warehousing, logistics, and operations.

However, when he realised his home island was importing lots of the same types of pepper sauce and did not even have a brand to call its own, he saw a gap in the market and an opportunity that could not be missed.

“The lightbulb moment came when I saw so many flavours and variations of pepper sauce in the international, mainly US market,” Nick recalls.

“I started watching YouTube videos and reading articles about the global trend in demand for speciality, small batch pepper sauce but I didn’t see a lot of genuine Caribbean representation. The idea grew from there.”

Despite his lack of professional culinary skills and his personal intolerance to hot, spicy food, Nick’s first batches of artisanal pepper sauce, made with smoked peppers, charred pineapple, local herbs, and spices were an instant hit with his friends and family.

Nick states: “Once I realised the business was going somewhere, I just tweaked the sauce a bit to make it more efficient for production because it wasn’t realistic to char the number of pineapples that I would need. I also chose peppers that were more readily available.

“After one or two adjustments we got it just right and we really let the ingredients speak for themselves because there are no fillers or preservatives. Once the real, natural ingredients are good, the sauce is good”.

Two more pepper sauce flavour profiles were soon added, the sweet and spicy ‘Pepper Punch’, and the milder ‘Zesty Jalapeno’.

All that remained was to officially name the business, but when Nick tried to register his local brand in 2018, the name he had in mind was already taken.

Slightly disheartened, he joined some friends on the beach for a bonfire and one of them suggested the name “Duppy” which in the English-speaking Caribbean means ghost or spirit. Nick liked the connotation and felt it even fitted in well with the sauce’s smoky origins.

Five years later and the ‘Old Duppy’ product line has gradually expanded to include five different kinds of pepper sauce along with tamarind sauce, BBQ sauce, Vex vinegar, Bajan Ganoush dip, and chili oil.

Nick has now turned his attention to exporting and took a major step towards achieving his goal of selling in the UK and Europe when he was accepted onto a 10-month ‘Launch to Market’ programme facilitated by the Caribbean Export Development Agency in September 2021.

Nick says: “‘Launch to Market’ really made us step back and focus on what larger markets would expect from our product. That programme was extremely helpful because as a small producer we would never have been able to afford that kind of assistance.

“Working with experts really gives you some unique insight into what you need to do for export and opens your eyes. The help was amazing and immeasurable.”

Last year, Nick had ‘Old Duppy Foods’ incorporated and took on a new business partner. The brand also took part in the Speciality & Fine Food Fair in London in September 2022 under the Caribbean Export umbrella.

“Taking ‘Old Duppy’ to England was always aspirational,” Nick states. “So, to see people there tasting and enjoying the product was very rewarding. We learned what the British market likes and doesn’t like, and it led to so many connections with buyers and distributors.

“We knew what we had to focus on and within a month we were working with an importer and distributor that matches the size of our brand, so we’ll grow together. Our first shipment to the UK went out in November and our second shipment is being prepared now.”

Nick believes the UK distribution deal will lead to more orders and to fulfil demand he has partnered with Export Barbados’s newly opened International Food Science Center in Bridgetown to assist with bottling and labelling.

In the short term, he is concentrating on developing a footing in the UK and plans to target two other major overseas markets. The long-term goal, he jokes, is “global domination”.

Nick adds: “When we decided to really have a go at this, we knew that Barbados was the foundation and an important part of the story. But we are very niche, so if we want to grow, we can’t stay in Barbados or even the Caribbean.

“One of my main goals is for tourists to come here and ask for ‘Old Duppy’ to take back with them. Not just a pepper sauce, any pepper sauce, but a Barbadian brand.”

Feeling Good – Caribbean products that help you prioritize health and well-being

The ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This philosophy continues to resonate today, shaping current trends and lifestyles. People now view their food choices as a means of promoting health, well-being, and preventative health management. From herbal teas, tinctures, powders and supplements to meditation, digital detoxes and yoga, individuals are looking for holistic approaches to feeling their best. Research indicates that, “The rise in conscientious consumption has the potential to greatly impact the future of nutrition, health and wellness”.[1]

From the Caribbean, with its rich base of folklore practices[2] and traditional knowledge involving the use of medicinal plants[3], new products are emerging that combine traditional wellness secrets with modern insights. These products cater to global consumers’ desires for quality products, plant-based foods, nutraceuticals, functional foods and natural food products that promote health and wellness.

At the renowned Food Industry trade fair, Agroalimentaria 2023, top exporting Caribbean brands and products will be showcased, offering a myriad of benefits for individuals seeking optimal health and well-being.

Bahamian company, Native Organic’s LLC, manufactures a line of 100% natural, pure and potent herbal dietary supplement capsules. Their vegan capsules, made from plants like soursop, papaya, cerasee, moringa, sea moss support overall wellness along with other capsules for colon cleansing, detox, and weight loss.

Native Organic’s line of supplements and capsules contain bioactive compounds, enzymes, and alkaloids that can offer functional benefits. Vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B3 and B6, Iron, and Potassium which are present in Ginger and Turmeric contain more than 300 naturally occurring components including beta-carotene, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium, flavonoids, fiber, iron, niacin, potassium, zinc, and other nutrients. Ginger and Turmeric capsules contain plants that have been used to treat ailments, ranging from migraines to chronic inflammation and fatigue.

Cerasee or bitter melon is traditionally used to help reduce constipation, boost immune functions, stabilise the body’s natural functions, and treat common colds and flu. Cerasee vegan capsules help consumers embrace the benefits of bitter melon in more palatable ways.

Other capsules from Native Organic’s may contribute to eliminating toxins (Organic Colon Cleanse Detox Capsules), improving digestive health (Papaya vegan capsules), and boosting energy and enhancing endurance (Organic Sea Moss Capsules), among other benefits. Native Organic’s helps consumers embrace the power of natural supplements to support their health and well-being.

Caribbean Agro Producers Corp from Dominica is dedicated to producing a wide range of health-enhancing products including capsules, herbal teas, tinctures, powders, spices, and gourmet ginger syrup. Their “Give” brand by Chiacell Biological is dedicated to the research and development (R&D) of healthy, naturally grown herbal teas. The product lineup for teas features premium and herbal tea blends that reflect a traditionally Caribbean “ethnobotanical apothecary”. Each tea product is titled to highlight its specific advantages. From Diabetea, made with Spanish Needle and Neem (Bidens Pilosa and Azadirachta Indica) to Vigor, made with Bois Bandé (Richeria Grandis, used traditionally as an aphrodisiac), their teas cover a diverse range of health concerns. Other popular plants featured in their products include Moringa and Soursop in Revivify, Vervain and Guava in Nerves & Veins and Noni and Ginger in Digestive Health. Additional product offerings include Cleanse, Corossol, Weight Loss, Circulation, Breathe Easy, Joint Health, and Immunity.

By harnessing the power of natural ingredients, Caribbean Agro Producers Corp offers products that can contribute to the well-being of individuals seeking holistic health approaches.

With over forty different types of teas and 60% of its products being exported, Jamaican Teas is the largest producer of teas in the Caribbean. They are the award-winning company that manufactures the rapidly growing brand, Caribbean Dreams. Caribbean Dreams’ tea product lineup features 3 main product lines: Select Tea Infusions, Wellness Teas and Flavoured Teas.

Select Tea Infusions features premium quality products that are expertly blended with the consumer in mind. Ingredients like lemongrass, rosehips, orange leaves and other plants are featured in various blends. Ingredients are carefully selected to evoke feelings of warmth and comfort while balancing consumers’ need for uniqueness, wellness, delectable flavours, and fulfillment.

Wellness Teas are focused on supporting a healthy lifestyle by introducing a variety of herbs and spices that contain many health benefits while Flavoured Teas feature a wide variety of flavourful herbal teas that are made with popular herbs and spices that not only taste good but are good for you too.

In addition to black, green and herbal teas, Jamaican Teas also offers seasoning, loose tea, instant tea and a range of pastas and other pantry products.

RHS Marketing, an award-winning company from Trinidad, takes pride in manufacturing products that have their roots in the Caribbean and its cultural diversity. Their product lineup includes one of the hottest new wellness trends, traditionally known and used in Ireland and the Caribbean: sea moss. Popularized for both health and beauty benefits, Irish sea moss (Chondrus Crispus) is a species of red algae that has attracted praise from health enthusiasts and mainstream celebrities with #seamoss appearing in over 1.2 million Instagram posts. Catering to the demand for sea moss products, RHS Marketing offers sea moss drinks (concentrate) and dried Irish Sea moss. In addition to sea moss products, they also offer a range of sauces, seasonings, spices, condiments, jellies, fruit cordials and essences.

The fusion of traditional Caribbean practices with modern nutrition and wellness insights has given rise to an array of products from the region that help consumers prioritize health and well-being.


[2] “The Use of Medicinal Herbs in Barbados.” Medicinal Plants of Barbados for the Treatment of Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases, Univ. of the West Indies Press, Kingston, 2015, p. 5.

[3] Vujicic, T; Cohall, D. “Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices on the Use of Botanical Medicines in a Rural Caribbean Territory.” Frontiers in Pharmacology, Accessed 15 May 2023.

Caribbean Investment Forum: The Premier Investment Event in the Caribbean, Coming to The Bahamas in October

During this week, a delegation from Caribbean Export visited the Bahamas to conduct crucial meetings with key stakeholders while intensifying their preparations for the second edition of the Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF). This event is scheduled to take place from October 23-25, 2023 at the Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas. In collaboration with the European Union and CARICOM, the Agency will partner with the Government of The Bahamas, working closely alongside teams from the Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation.

The CIF aims to accomplish three significant objectives: (1) Attract targeted investments into prioritized sectors, specifically those essential for driving the region’s transition towards a greener and smarter economy. These sectors encompass the digital economy, agri-tech, renewable energy, and transportation and logistics. (2) Enhance the visibility of the region and the host country as attractive investment destinations. (3) Facilitate networking and collaboration among the investment community in the region, leading to agreements on key priorities that will expedite the region’s transition to a greener and smarter economy. The primary focus is to create a platform for businesses to engage with one another and foster new business opportunities.

Following the inaugural CIF, the emphasis in 2023 will be on packaging investment opportunities in the identified priority sectors and build upon the accomplishments of the inaugural CIF, which occurred in Trinidad and Tobago last November, and expedite the Agency’s mission of creating a more environmentally sustainable and technologically advanced Caribbean.

CIF 2023 will concentrate on assisting businesses in attracting investments in these key areas including the adoption of renewable energy practices to enhance competitiveness and leverage the green economy, the integration of technology in business operations, encompassing ICT, digitalization of processes, and FinTech, the development and implementation of technology in agriculture and support CARICOM’s goal of reducing the region’s food import bill by 25% by 2025, and the enhancement of the region’s infrastructure pertaining to transportation and logistics.

It is anticipated that this year’s event will surpass last year’s achievements and attract over 800 business professionals seeking to invest in the Caribbean or secure investment into their multi-million-dollar projects.

The event serves as the foremost platform for attracting investments in the region, offering an opportunity to showcase the Caribbean as an appealing investment destination with the potential to drive transformative growth. The CIF is distinguished by its exclusive focus on investment, with the primary aim of attracting businesspersons from the region and carefully screened investors from around the world who are interested in participating and contributing to the event.

Haitian and Dominican Business Supporting Organizations Join Forces in Argentina to Learn Best Practices on How to Boost Institutional Efficiency for MSMEs

A group of Haitian and Dominican Business Supporting Organizations, led by  Chambre du Commerce et d’industrie d’ Haïti (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Haiti) and the Federación Dominicana de Cámaras de Comercio-FEDOCAMARAS (Dominican Federation of Chambers of Commerce) strengthened collaboration ties through their joint participation in a Best Practices Mission to Buenos Aires, Argentina. This mission was coordinated by Caribbean Export as part of its Private Sector Dialogue Work Plan stemming out of the implementation of the Trade and Private Sector Component of the Haiti-Dominican Republic Binational Cooperation Program, financed by the European Union under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

The delegation was comprised by Chambre du Commerce et d’Industrie d’Haïti-CCIH (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Haiti), Association Des Industries d’Haïti-ADIH (Association of Industries of Haiti), the American Chamber of Commerce in Haiti-AmCham Haiti and the Chambre de Conciliation et d’Arbitrage d’Haiti-CCAH (Chamber of Conciliation and Arbitration of Haiti),  Federación Dominicana de Cámaras de Comercio-FEDOCAMARAS (Dominican Federation of Chambers of Commerce), Cámara de Comercio y Producción de Santo Domingo-CCPSD (Chamber of Commerce and Production of Santo Domingo), Asociación Dominicana de Exportadores-ADOEXPO (Dominican Exporters’ Association) and the Centro de Resolución Alternativa de Controversias de la República Dominicana-CRC (Dominican Republic’s Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution).

Argentina has a long track record of supporting export of its services industry in a worldwide scale, namely in the innovation and technology sector. Such is the case that Argentina has eleven (11) companies that are considered unicorns (valued at over USD$1 billion). Moreover, Argentina has had to overcome major challenges in the political and social realm that have greatly affected private sector development and overall trade.  In this context, Caribbean Export organized this mission to enable r Haitian and Dominican BSOs to discuss what operational and policy frameworks were put in place to support Argentina’s private sector; along with the challenges that were faced and the best practices of what worked.

During the mission, the delegation was able to engage and share best practices with the Cámara Argentina de Comercio y Servicios-CAC (Chamber of Commerce and Services of Argentina), which served as the primary host for this mission, along other private sector support institutions. These exchanges allowed participating BSOs to learn about the services provided by their counterparts in Argentina and improve their technical capacity to support the country’s business development with the appropriate tools to improve their management. In addition, the delegation was able to engage with the Cámara Argentina de Comercio Electrónico-CACE (Digital Chamber of Commerce of Argentina), allowing the acquisition of knowledge about the electronic commerce program (experience and training) implemented by after the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of increasing the competitiveness of the private exporting sector.

With this activity, the participating chambers of commerce will be able to increase the quantity and quality of the services offered to their members and improve their long-term sustainability, while strengthening their collective interinstitutional cooperation ties across the border and the overall binational private sector.

Caribbean Export Executive Director, Deodat Maharaj, Visits Sub-Regional Office in the Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – Caribbean Export’s Executive Director, Deodat Maharaj, visited the Dominican Republic  in March 2023 where he met with key stakeholders from the public and private sector. This was Mr. Maharaj’s first mission to the Subregional Office since taking up the post of Executive Director. While in Santo Domingo, he held meetings with the Dominican Republic Exporters Association (ADOEXPO), the Dominican Republic Export and Investment Promotion Agency (ProDominicana), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX), Ministry of Economy and Planning (MEPYD)and the Vice Ministry of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and MSMEs. Mr. Maharaj also had the opportunity to discuss regional matters with the Ambassador of the European Union to the Dominican Republic.

During his visit, Maharaj had the opportunity to meet with the press and exchange information about the Agency’s regional programs. He also spoke on how the Agency is undergoing a transition process that seeks to align with new areas relevant to international economic development, such as the transition to a green economy, the incorporation of technology in traditional economic sectors, and innovation and digitalization of our business across the board. Maharaj shared the Agency’s vision of leveraging the Subregional office in the Dominican Republic to serve as a bridge to enhance commercial opportunities between Latin America and the rest of the Caribbean.

Besides the high-level stakeholder meetings, Maharaj spent some time engaging with local media outlets in order to raise the visibility profile of the Agency. He was a guest on the radio program “Almuerzo de Negocios,” where he highlighted some of the success stories of Dominican companies abroad through the agency’s programs that have strengthened the commercial exchange of regional businesses. He also discussed the upcoming Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF), which will be held in the Bahamas in October of this year. The event aims to attract investors to the region and will focus on attracting investment in the Agrotech, Green Economy, and Technology sectors.

In an interview with El Nacional newspaper, Maharaj indicated that one of the new markets the region is focusing its attention on is African countries. “There are great business opportunities in Africa for the Caribbean. A large percentage of the African population is young and interested in novelty,” he said. The agency plans to explore this market through a trade mission in June, which will be accompanied by a large delegation of entrepreneurs and trade promotion agencies from the Caribbean.

Caribbean Export Discusses Strengthening Private Sector Support with The Prime Minister of Saint Lucia

A contingent from The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), recently met with government stakeholders and partners in Saint Lucia to discuss the Agency’s services, impact and relevance. Led by the Executive Director Deodat Maharaj, during March 22- 24, 2023, Caribbean Export’s visit to Saint Lucia aimed to establish clear priorities and chart a concrete programme of support for local businesses.

During the visit, Caribbean Export met with partners, including the Prime Minister, the Minister of External Affairs and International Trade and Civil Aviation, staff of Ministry of Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs, Invest Saint Lucia and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

The team had the pleasure of meeting the Honourable Philip J. Pierre, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and hearing his government’s priorities, particularly on trade and investment. From the extensive discussions it was clear that the Agency’s work mirrors the government’s transformational agenda, which focuses on creating jobs and opportunities for the people of Saint Lucia. Caribbean Export lauded the Prime Minister on his imminent launch of the Youth Economy Agency and attendant programme that seeks to build capacities in Saint Lucia’s young entrepreneurs.

Caribbean Export also engaged in discussions with the Honourable Alva Baptiste, Minister for External Affairs, International Trade and Civial Aviation and his team. Here, the meeting focused on international partnerships and leveraging Caribbean Export’s role in assisting in the implementation of agreements such as the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) through years of dedicated support in training, capacity building and overall technical assistance to the private sector to take advantage of those agreements. In light of the UK-CARIFORUM EPA, the agency is looking forward to similar focused work.

As the Agency continues to pave the way for transformative investments across the Caribbean, one of the highlights of Caribbean Export’s visit was meeting with Invest Saint Lucia’s CEO, Octavian Charles, and his team. During the discussions that surrounded the identification of bankable investment projects around three main priorities; renewable energy, digital economy and agriculture technology, Caribbean Export took the opportunity to signal the upcoming second iteration of its Caribbean Investment Forum scheduled for October 2022.

Said Mr. Maharaj of the visit, “The discussions demonstrated a clear appreciation of our strategic plan’s priority areas, which are fully consistent with Saint Lucia’s goals. I’m delighted with our engagements over the three days, and we look forward to strengthening our support to the Saint Lucian private sector.”

As a dedicated organization committed to promoting trade and investment across the Caribbean, Caribbean Export shares the vision of business playing a vital role in the region’s economic growth. The organization is proud to be leading the way in facilitating transformative investments, supporting local businesses, and creating jobs and opportunities for the people of the Caribbean.

Embracing Equity at Every Opportunity

Today, the 8th of March is celebrated the world over in many different ways, and often used to advocate on issues affecting women and to inspire others for positive change. Believe it or not, the day’s origins go back as far as 1908 when 15,000 women took to the streets of New York to march in demand for shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

Still in 2023, we are calling for the businesses and governments to address the gender pay gap. For example, in the European Union the gender pay gap stood at 12.7% in 2021 and only changed marginally over the past decade. In the United States, it was reported that all women were paid 83% of what men are paid in 2022, be the US Department of Labor. And, women of colour are paid even less. Unfortunately, Black women are paid 64% or 64 cents to every dollar and Hispanic women were paid 57% or 57 cents to every dollar earned by white non-Hispanic men.

At the recently held virtual Lunchtime Chat hosted by the University of the West Indies to mark International Women’s Day executive director at Compete Caribbean, Dr Sylvia Dohnert, highlighted that the majority of large corporations were owned by men and women-owned businesses were in the minority, “In the population of business in the Caribbean they average around 20 per cent [female-owned or predominantly female businesses] . . . There’s a correlation between the size of the business and female ownership so the larger the firm, the less likely that it is being owned by a female and this difference is statistically significant,”

So, how do we get equality? And how do we get equity for women across the world in all areas of our societies, be it education, healthcare, employment and also business?

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity, a call to get people talking about why equal opportunities are no longer enough and can in fact be exclusionary, as opposed to inclusive.

At Caribbean Export, I am fortunate to be part of a diverse team where all perspectives are respected and heard. As we implement our programmes and activities to support the development of the Caribbean private sector, we have experienced that on average 52% of the participants are women. It’s great to see that women are leveraging the support that is offered whether for their own business or to contribute to the success of the company they are employed by.

The Caribbean Export tools and resources are available to everyone equally, and I hope that businesses use them to their advantage. But, we understand that every business is different and has different development needs.

Caribbean Export uses its SME Diagnostic Tool to assess the small businesses and to identify the areas where development and support are required. This enables us to tailor the right solutions to give businesses to best foot forward to succeed in exporting.

I was fortunate enough to work with a group of women-owned businesses as part of our WE-Xport (women-empowered through export) programme. After understanding their different needs, we were able to provide a suite of services that included capacity building, businesses coaching, export promotions and technical assistance in specific areas. As a result, many of these businesses were able to either start or increase exports, achieve certifications, enhance their branding and marketing and even leverage the support from one-another for the development of the business.

While International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness and take action to promote gender equality, it is important that we continue this work every day. Achieving true gender equality and equity requires consistent effort and a commitment to making changes both big and small in our daily lives. Whether it’s challenging gender stereotypes, advocating for policies that promote equal opportunities, or supporting women in leadership positions, we all have a role to play in creating a more equitable world. Let’s work together to make every day International Women’s Day!

“When girls are given the right tools to succeed, they can create incredible futures, not only for themselves but also for those around them.” Meghan Markle

Grenadian Firms Now Better Equipped to Maximize Export Opportunities

It’s been one month since Caribbean Export’s Executive Director and Services Specialist met with Government Officials in Grenada to advance the country’s transformational agenda. One of the key takeaways from that engagement was the identification of capacity building support to the islands’ agro-processors.

Consequently, a 2-day workshop, entitled “Leveraging CARIFORUM Trade Agreements” was hosted by Caribbean Export, in partnership with the European Union Delegation in Barbados from 22-23 February 2023 at the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort. This workshop covered several topics that are key considerations for MSMEs that are already exporting, or those considering exporting to the European Union.

Minister Joseph Andall, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Export Development delivered the opening remarks, demonstrating the government’s commitment to the private sector. He noted “The Government of Grenada is committed to building and supporting the development of world class brands that are capable of successfully competing in both regional and international markets, with special focus on the European market. As such, this workshop today is critical for firms that are serious about taking advantage of trade agreements such as the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement and getting their products into those markets.”

Ms. Carlene Hamiliton of the EU Barbados and Eastern Caribbean States delegation navigated the EU export requirements portal to a packed room of close to 50 participants comprising representatives from 35 MSMEs and 11 Ministry and Business Support staff. Ms. Mikaela Stoute – Research Officer Market Intelligence and Ms. Natasha Edwin-Walcott, Senior Advisor Competitiveness and Export Promotion from Caribbean Export emphasized ways to assess a firm’s export readiness, leveraged key market research and intelligence tools and showcased how to prepare for export promotion and enter new markets. As far as possible, real-world examples were demonstrated, highlighting the opportunities and export potential of Grenadian products, but also the challenges of market access.

The Grenada Trade and Investment Officials as well as Grenada Bureau of Standards presented on the Grenada economy and the importance of standards and labeling in exporting products.

Participants’ products ranged from seamoss, teas, chocolate, water, sauces and condiments as well as service providers. By the close of the session on day two, the room was just as full as day one. Representatives were fully engaged, provocative in their thinking and ready to improve their business and export plans to take advantage of the trade opportunities presented.

Caribbean Export acknowledges the support provided by the local partners and business support organisations such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Export Development, Grenada Investment and Development Corporation and the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce for the leadership in hosting this event.

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee: Poised to be Europe’s Coffee of Choice

Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is known for its unique flavour profile and high quality, which makes it a sought-after coffee by many coffee enthusiasts around the world.  A specialty coffee grown in limited quantities in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica, it is generally considered to be one of the most expensive and exclusive coffees available in the world. Its rarity and high quality have contributed to its popularity and high demand among coffee aficionados.

The demand for this coffee naturally will fluctuate depending on a variety of factors, including supply, pricing, and consumer preferences.  However, globally the specialty coffee market was worth over USD53.67bn in 2019, with the EU specialty market valued at $16.68 billion (almost one third of the global total) which is also projected to grow by 9.0% annually between 2020-2026 due to rising demand for on-the-go coffee and a strengthening premium coffee shop segment.  

Given the immense opportunity for Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee in Europe, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Affairs sought to enhance the competitiveness of Jamaican coffee in the EU. The Ministry commissioned the Caribbean Export Development Agency to facilitate an in-depth study on the European coffee market and the scope for increased exports of Jamaican coffee.

“Currently, approximately 10% of Jamaica’s exports of Blue Mountain Coffee goes to Europe. There is indeed significant scope for its expansion given the EU’s large consumer base. According to existing data, Europe accounts for approximately 33% of global coffee consumption, making Europe the largest coffee market in the world, and, accordingly, one with great potential.” shared Ambassador Symone Betton-Nayo.

Taking a practical, market-led approach, the consultant Windward Commodities, met with a cross-section of Jamaican and European coffee stakeholders and engaged in other research activities to determine the trends in the EU market and explore how Jamaica could expand its coffee exports to Europe and compete successfully in the market. 

The study entitled Time to wake-up and ‘cup’ the coffee – Expanding Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee in the EUoutlines a number of market-led recommendations and practical steps that can create transparency and collaboration in the Jamaican coffee industry – playing to the strengths of supply chain partners and exploring partnerships in new markets.

Caribbean Export was delighted to collaborate with Ambassador Betton-Neyo and her team to facilitate this crucial review of the Jamaican coffee sector to enhance the competitiveness of its exports.

“We are confident that the recommendations will have a positive impact on ongoing efforts to expand Jamaican coffee exports to the EU.  We commend Caribbean Export for its strong and tangible contribution to efforts aimed at enhancing the Caribbean’s export potential in the European market” concluded Ambassador Betton-Neyo.

Definite Chocolate and Makaya Chocolat Create a Binational Chocolate Collection

A new range of chocolates burst on the scene last year co-created by Makaya Chocolat from Haiti and Definite Chocolate from the Dominican Republic (DR).

The two companies have been participating in the Cocoa/Chocolate Binational Value Chain Project which focusses on enhancing the competitiveness of companies in Haiti and the DR operating in the cocoa sector.

Master chocolatiers Ralph Leroy (MAKAYA) and Jens Kamin (Definite Chocolate) met through a best-practices mission organized by Caribbean Export which sought to facilitate the exchange of ideas and best-practices between industry practitioners. After several virtual elaboration meetings in February and March 2022, these master chocolatiers met in person on May 2022 at the Definite Chocolate’s laboratory to finalize their joint recipe and share their knowhow; from the selection of the cocoa pods, to the tempering of the grains, to the roasting and wise mixing of the ganache.

Together they created a chocolate collection that combines the history of cocoa from both countries, while using recipes that highlight organic indigenous ingredients, such as coffee, cashews and peanuts, and common traditions.

This initiative was funded by the European Union and implemented in collaboration with the Haiti Jazz Foundation and Caracoli through their Gastronomic component of the Binational Cultural Dialogue.

The collection was presented on July 9, 2022 by the two chocolatiers during the ‘2nd Dominican Chocolate Festival’ held in Santo Domingo at the Ágora Mall shopping center. The launch was a resounding success attracting thousands and showcasing the potential of binational collaboration and co-production.

This special collection was also presented at the Salon du Chocolat Show in Paris, France in October 2022, as part of the promotional efforts of this Binational Cocoa/Chocolate Value Chain. The international exposure and audience acceptance was quite high resulting in the collection selling out.

The co-creation of a Binational chocolate collection between a Haitian and Dominican company is the first of its kind. The two countries share the same land space of the Hispaniola Island which has the indigenous name also known as ‘Quisqueya’ and believed to mean “mother of all lands” in the Taíno language. The three chocolate bars in this collection are inspired by the names of the island tribe chiefs (caciques) that ruled the five chiefdoms (cacicazgos) that are now cocoa-producing provinces:

Guacana, inspired by Guacanagaríx, chief of Marien (North Haiti and Northwest DR): a chocolate enriched with a pinch of coffee from our mountains.

Guario, inspired by Guarionex, chief of Magua (central region of the island): a chocolate filled with peanut ganache.

Caya, named after the chief Cayacao, from the cacicazgo of Higüey (another part of the island producing cocoa, on the Eastern tip): a deliciously perfumed chocolate with cashew nuts and enriched with pieces of nuts.

Caribbean Export and CAF Join Forces to Support Caribbean Private Sector

Caribbean business and the Region’s trade and investment agenda will benefit following yesterday’s agreement between the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) and Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF) – the development bank of Latin America, on a framework of cooperation to support private sector transformation across the Caribbean.

The Heads of the two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in The Bahamas at the 44th CARICOM Heads of Government meeting on the 16th of February 2023.

Caribbean Export and CAF have agreed to work together in the areas of research, data collection exchange and analysis on sustainable development, trade and investment promotion issues affecting Latin America and the Caribbean with the view to strengthening opportunities for sustainable private sector growth.

Central to regional transformation will be the institutional strengthening and capacity building of businesses to enhance the productivity and sustainability, particularly in the areas of technology and innovation, digital transformation, green energy and entrepreneurship. Together they will focus on addressing key issues related to regional integration, trade and investment promotion.

CAF is a development bank focused on improving the lives of Latin American and Caribbean people. An institution which aims to become the green and blue bank of the region, CAF vision aligns well with Caribbean Export’s areas of strategic focus to advance the region’s transformation.