While Pine Hill Dairy has been able to get milk into Trinidad and Tobago on a test basis, the company has been encountering some roadblocks in its attempt to export milk to Jamaica.
Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society, James Paul, voiced this concern earlier today during a Press briefing at the Grotto, Beckles Road, St. Michael.
He said: “It is unfortunate that at a time when we are supposed to have CARICOM arrangements in place, that some countries in the region still have road blocks against products entering their country. In relation to Jamaica, we have a situation where an extra duty is likely to be applied to the milk coming out of Barbados. Although it is our understanding that once the product originates from within the region no duties are supposed to be applied. Applying those duties and charges will make the price of the Barbadian milk unattractive to Jamaican consumers. That is our concern.”
Paul noted that Barbados already imports a substantial amount of milk from Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica had plans of exporting milk to Barbados.
“We have a situation where Barbados is very accessible to everybody, but on the other hand Barbadian products cannot penetrate other markets. I think that is a major concern for us. From the point of view of the local dairy industry where we have milk that we can export to other Caribbean territories we need to examine it,” Paul said.
He also expressed concern that milk producers in Barbados were also experiencing challenges in exporting milk to the lesser developed countries in the region. Paul noted that while the BAS was going to pay attention in regaining as much presence on the local market, it was going to look at the exportation of the product.
He noted that the BAS had approached government for assistance and it was awaiting a response to the submission.
“We have outlined the kind of assistance that we would expect government to give. At this point the industry is at a very sensitive stage. We would hope that the initiatives that we are bringing on board will help to give sustenance and life to the industry, but certainly we would want to ensure that we get the necessary support from all stakeholders, government and the private sector. One of our major concerns at the moment is the fact that when you look at supermarket shelves there are lots of products coming in which are in direct competition to the milk that Barbados produces,” Paul said. (NC)