The Government has advanced the viable operation of the La Croix, Langley Park, Lauders and Belmont (Leeward) buying depots as Food Terminal Markets for the export of agriculture produce.
The facilities are expected to be refurbished and further enhanced to be able to not only export as active participants on the Windward Food Production Corridor Hub, an FAO sponsored project, but also to satisfy the emerging demand expected to be created as a result of the hotel expansion currently taking place.
BEMs Caribe, Montgomery King, Nick Barnal and the farmers of Marriaqua have since exported three 20-foot containers of dasheen.
There is a current contract being negotiated for a 20 foot container on a weekly basis to be exported to Miami in 2023.
Mr. King noted that the export of 52 containers from the buying depot will require significant expansion in production.
RASFARCO, a co-operative of Rastafarians headed by Alvin Collins of Greiggs, has also exported a 20 foot container of a mixture of root crops to the US on the export initiative. This was done from the Lauders Food Terminal Market.
The Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar, noted that the intention is to have in 2023 these Food Terminal Markets operate as aggregating platforms, through which millions of dollars will be transacted between exporters and farmers. The model follows closely the public-private partnership to lease the fisheries centers.
The Minister stressed the need for the farmers to produce at a high quality and consistent quantities and for the exporters to increase their market share by adhering to best practices in export.
The Langley Park and Belmont Food Terminal Markets are expected to be fully operational in 2023, with the Belmont site requiring major repairs.