by Eulana Weekes
St.Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Nevis Agro-processing Unit in the Department of Agriculture is one step closer to being recognized on the global market for its quality products, made from locally grown produce.
Opened almost 12 years ago, the small processing industry is thriving well with the production of concentrates of various flavours including, mango, passionfruit, sorrel and tamarind. It also produces mango pulp, soursop pulp, flour, cassava chips and breadfruit chips, guava cheese, tamarind, locally made juices and more.
With its products generating foreign interest, the Nevis Agro-processing Unit will soon be exporting to the United States, according to Mr. Huey Sargeant, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture.
“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,” Sargeant explained.
In addition, Sargeant shared that the businesswoman has one concern related to the labeling of the products, but has expressed her willingness in ensuring that the labels are properly done.
“The packaging is well. She loved the packaging actually, and one of the things we are deficient in is the labeling 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 do is to have someone in her company work with us to enhance our labeling because obviously, it has to be able to meet the US import standards…but that is the kind of interest that the Agro Processing Unit has generated,” Sargeant said.
Meanwhile, Mr.Sargeant indicated that there has been a growing interest locally for products made at the facility. He expressed his pride with the level of confidence that the general public has placed in the Agro-processing Unit, as well as, the number of products produced on the island of Nevis.