The Caribbean Tiger – Moving Beyond Energy

Trinidad and Tobago Participates at the Food and beverage Show in Miami

MIAMI – Trinidad and Tobago, the twin island nation located at the end of the Caribbean archipelago was crowned “The Caribbean Tiger” back in the 1990s by international financial publications. At the time the country had begun to emerge from recession and had just embarked upon its economic journey of increasing growth and development, driven in large part by significant reserves of oil and gas and a highly developed, global energy sector.

Fast forward to today and Trinidad and Tobago is a major trading nation in the Caribbean, dominating trade within the group of 14 CARICOM member states by some 80 percent. While T&T’s energy sector is world renowned, with its products exported across the globe, e.g. 77 percent of US natural gas needs are met by exports from Trinidad and Tobago, the country also has dynamic and diversified manufacturing and services sectors, and a Government determined to ensure that the success of energy is replicated elsewhere across the economic spectrum.

Responsibility for the diversification thrust rests with the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), which has identified seven non-energy sectors for further business development and investment promotion. These sectors – Food and Beverages, Film, Music and Entertainment, Seafood, Printing and Packaging and Yachting – are key areas in which Trinidad and Tobago already has a significant resource base, traditional markets and competitive advantages

One of these sectors – Food and Beverages – will be represented at the 11th Americas Food and Beverage Trade Show taking place at the Miami Beach Convention Center from September 24th to 26th this month. The Trinidad Food and Beverage Industry is a major contributor to the country’s GDP, with over 400 firms which employ approximately 9,000 people.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Food and Beverage industry is one of the most competitive in the English speaking Caribbean. Some of the country’s local processors, such as Angostura, National Canners, Chief Brands, S. M. Jaleel and Bermudez are globally recognized brands with products that dominate regional markets and are in high demand in North American and European markets. Local food manufacturers work continuously to innovate and improve on their products, dedicated to maintaining quality and overall integrity of their brands along with competitive pricing to meet consumer demands.

In addition, Trinidad and Tobago is also an exporter of quality produce, much of which is managed by NAMDEVCO – the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Company Limited. NAMDEVCO is responsible for sourcing high quality fresh produce such as hot peppers, pumpkin, papaya, cassava (yucca) and taro for export markets in North America, Canada and Europe and more recently became involved in food processing through development of packaged produce combinations ideal for the creation of vegetable based soups.

Both MTI and NAMDEVCO are excited at the prospects offered by participation in the show for Trinidad and Tobago’s food processors and fresh produce items, especially with the increasing demand for exotic, tropical foods and produce due to the growing gourmet food trend. Indeed, participants are looking forward to networking with their peers, exploring new food trends, making important business contacts and learning more about penetrating the lucrative US market.

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