Christopher Alcazar, a director of the T&T Manufacturers' Association (TTMA), has confirmed to the T&T Guardian that local manufacturers are preparing to ship more goods to Venezuela at month end.
This follows the first batch shipped in late June in keeping with an agreement signed between the T&T and Venezuela governments to supply the South American country with manufactured goods through a US$50 million revolving fund. The agreement covers an initial three-month period and so far $26.9 million dollars worth of food and basic household items have been shipped to eastern Venezuela.
Alcazar, who is also the National Brands Director at Vemco Limited, said one of the challenges had been in meeting the exact specifications of the size and volume of goods requested by the Venezuelan buyers. "For example, they chose a particular 500ml ketchup format from Vemco. We were therefore able to supply 180 tons of that particular product given current line capacity, raw and packaging material available at the time," he explained.
"Had they chosen another format of ketchup we would have been able to supply the requested the entire 700 tons of ketchup requested." However, he added, the Venezuelan market is proving to be lucrative for T&T manufacturers. "Our current business to Venezuela is a foot in the market, which can give us access to understand how we can work with the market to secure mid-long term growth through different avenues. Vemco will be pursuing these opportunities as the current business model does not carry with it security for long term brand building in the market," he said.