Nevis Agro Processing Centre performing well locally; attracting foreign interests
NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (February 01, 2022) — Products from the Nevis Agro Processing Centre in the Department of Agriculture are performing well and generating interest locally and further afield, with export to the United States of America on the horizon.
Mr. Huey Sargeant, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture made the disclosure on January 31, 2022, while speaking with the Department of Information.
“We have some concentrates which are doing really well. We have mango concentrate; we have sorrel; we have tamarind and these in particular are doing very well. We have mango pulp and we have soursop pulp; we have some flour; we have chips; we have like cassava chips and breadfruit chips and all of these are doing quite well…
“We spoke with a lady from the US within the last week actually, and she came to the island to visit and she has now enquired of us when we can ship some of those products to her. She has a website that markets exclusive and unique foods and once our products go through the necessary testing, we have that commitment that we can now be exporting these items,” he said.
Mr. Sargeant noted however, that there is one concern with the product’s labelling which their potential client has committed to assist in resolving.
“The packaging is well. She loved the packaging actually, and one of the things we are deficient in is the labelling and the listing of the ingredients.
“Normally the ingredients are very few so it is as natural and as healthy as possible. So what she has committed to doing is to have someone in her company work with us to enhance our labelling because obviously, it has to be able to meet the US import standards…but that is the interest that the Agro Processing Unit has generated,” he said.
The Agriculture Ministry official also pointed to the growing interest in the unit’s products on the local market.
“The fact that we have space on supermarket shelves…is the level of confidence that the unit has in terms of the general public.
“The supermarkets wouldn’t be calling if persons weren’t taking them up off the shelves. So they’ve performed, and I’ll tell you the limiting factor is the amount of raw products that is being produced on the island.
Mr. Sargeant used the opportunity to publicly commend Mrs. Shermel England who manages the facility, for ensuring that there are now several products on supermarket shelves in Nevis.
Other items produced at the centre include: dehydrated sorrel, sorrel concentrate, mango concentrate, passionfruit concentrate, cassava meal, cassava flour, tamarind jam, guava cheese, noni juice and local fruit juices and fresh pumpkin, plantain, moringa and cassava white and wheat breads which are available every Friday.