Agro-processing opportunities in cocoa and chocolate was the focus of recent discussions at the Trade and Industry Ministry's head office, Nicholas Tower, Port-of-Spain.
On August 15, Trade and Industry Minister, Paula Gopee-Scoon and members of the ministry's technical staff met with Director of the Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company, Ashley Parasram and representatives of the British High Commission to discuss opportunities for collaboration.
This was the latest in a series of meetings being held by the ministry to examine new and innovative opportunities to boost exports and increase access to markets in agro processing.
The ministry said during the meeting that Parasram "shared an overview of the company’s operations and opportunities for partnership."
"Lauding the company’s innovative and enabling strategies in the area of agro processing for export," Gopee-Scoon reiterated Government’s inclination to support business ventures into high end lucrative markets.
The ministry added that Gopee-Scoon emphasised that these initiatives "not only strengthen our economy but also solidify Trinidad and Tobago’s brand internationally."
The minister commended the Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company for its "significant accomplishments" over its two years of operations and assured Parasram of the ministry's commitment to product quality improvement efforts.
"The ministry," Gopee-Scoon added, "is in the final stages of completing a National Quality Policy and consideration will be given to the inclusion of Cocoa Processing as a priority area. A clear vision is needed. While there’s significant work to be done, there is also significant promise. We must work together to determine how best we can utilise this resource to benefit Trinidad and Tobago from a trade perspective."
The Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company operates a facility located at the La Reunion Estate, Centeno. It carries out breeding programmes, conservation, agronomy and processing trials, provides farmers with planting material and technical advice, training and infrastructure. La Reunion produces the highest quality of Trinitario beans, which have achieved global recognition by consistently winning awards at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris every year.