Barbados’ exports for 2022 are up 20 per cent over the previous year.
And the increase is being driven primarily by bio-based products, including liquor, according to the chief executive officer of Export Barbados, Mark Hill.
“We’ve seen an increase in spirits, particularly rum, those exports are up significantly. We’ve also seen a boost in fats and oils. So Roberts manufacturing has been able to grow significantly,” Hill said, adding that there was also an increase in pharmaceuticals.
He said the country’s new food science centre has allowed them to put more focus on food processing and Barbados will soon get the financial boost to expand this.
The International Food Science Centre, an initiative of Export Barbados, was opened on November 28, 2022. Its initial focus is the manufacturing of sauces and condiments for local producers.
He disclosed: “We’re soon going to have a vehicle instrument in place to help provide the necessary financial support that the exporters need.
“The food science Centre is positioning itself, both with normal boxes and cold chain, to help ramp up the exports of exotic foods from the Caribbean such as breadfruit, squash, guava, all the exotic things you get from Barbados.”
The Centre, located at Newton Industrial Park in Christ Church, has been successful so far, Hill said.
“Manufacturers came in last week and produced 3 000 units in two days and they told us those units would have normally taken a week to produce but there were able to use the facility and have their products completed in 48 hours.”
Design drive for 2023
Despite the positive strides made in the exportation of bio-based products, Hill told Nation Online that much work needed to be done relative to design products.
He disclosed that while the focus last year was on food processing, this year will be on the design “so we will be focusing fundamentally on life centre design”.
This will include furniture, fashion, product design, and green manufacturing development.
“We are going to do a compressive design audit of all of our manufacturers, from the packaging right back through, so that we are focusing on world-class products because Barbados is not a cheap state to do things, so trying to go into the market competing based on economies of scale is not the Barbados brand,” he added.
Hill contends that the Barbados’ focus should be on creating high quality products, noting that that’s what will attract customers.
He is of the view that good design is central to that global appeal. (AL)