Review by Kevin Baldeosingh
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Trade Minister: T&T food sector in thrust to diversify
Three Tobago food manufacturers are in the local contingent attending the 60th Summer Fancy Food Show later this month in New York. Trade, Investment and Communication Minister Vasant Bharath said the representatives from the sister isle, Flavour Me Rite, Jus Rite Creations and Tobago’s Gourmet Granola, will be on show at an event to be attended by an estimated 40,000 people from 80 countries. “It is quite a golden opportunity for T&T to be there. Government will continue to create the enabling environment simply because this is part of our diversification thrust. We believe there are a number of areas or sectors we can be competitive in, or we can add value as far as economic activity is concerned. The food sector is one of those,” he said at a ceremony to announce the manufacturers attending the event at Nicholas Towers, Independence Square, Port-of-Spain.
Bharath said the theme for the T&T booth, The Energy of T&T, is unchanged from last year. “When you go to these shows you are not just highlighting the product you manufacture, you are selling T&T. In many instances there are hundreds of companies who are displaying who have never even heard of T&T,” he told the manufacturers. “The level of professionalism you display, how you sell your product, how you speak to people is very important because you are selling T&T.” He said if foreigners do not have a good impression of T&T, “you are going to find it difficult to succeed.” The minister said the food and beverage sector is one which has tremendous potential, not just to expand in T&T, but across the globe. In all, 13 local local manufacturers are set to present their top products to the rest of the world at the 60th Summer Fancy Food Show from June 29–July 1. The delegation, led by Bharath, will be participating for the second consecutive year in North America’s largest specialty food and beverage event.
Reminiscing on last year’s participation Bharath said: “Some of the exhibitors such as SMAKS, KC, Carib and National Canners were all able to meet with a number of international contacts while at the show and generate successful leads. The minister added: “The companies present represent the future of our dynamic food and beverage industry in Trinidad and Tobago, a sector targeted for diversification and truly represents the theme of Pavilio, The Energy of Trinidad and Tobago, which focuses on the elements of Trinidad and Tobago’s energy including: our background, our culture and very importantly, our vibrant food and beverage industry.” The Trinidad companies participating this year are Carib Brewery, KC Confectionery Ltd, National Canners Ltd, Associated Brands Industries Ltd, Vemco Ltd, Snaks Luxury Group Ltd, RHS Marketing Ltd, Chatak Food Products Ltd, The Roti Factory and Asma’s Roti. Representatives of the Ministry of Trade, exporTT and the Tobago House of Assembly will also be in the T&T deegation.