Saint Lucia businessman Rayneau Gajadhar has launched an agricultural exports company, Rayneau Industries Limited in a bid to assist farmers.
It is a Saint Vincent and the Grenadines initiative but open to other countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Gajadhar explained that Vincentian Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar had been the most passionate about the venture.
“It should extend to the other OECS Islands, but it needs to get the passion from the governments and the Agriculture Ministers to become a reality,” the Saint Lucia businessman told St Lucia Times.
According to media reports, Gajadhar’s company exported a container of vegetables and fruits from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United States Virgin Islands last week.
“The idea is to buy all farmers’ agricultural products, whether good, bad, or ugly, grade the products, and look for markets to resell,” Gajadhar explained.
In addition, he disclosed that payment would be one of the critical elements of the initiative.
According to Gajadhar, farmers receive payment immediately when delivering their products and can use the money to reinvest in areas such as inputs.
He observed that access to ready markets had been an issue for farmers over the years.
And the Saint Lucia businessman told St Lucia Times that’s what he is seeking to provide farmers.
“Yes, we are going to take some losses and yes, we must get government intervention to subsidise some of it,” Gajadhar stated.
He noted that there would be no primary market because of the various product grades.
However, Gajadhar told St Lucia Times that he wanted to build a value-added industry to process products.
“So some of the products that we buy that may not be good for resale instantly, the idea is to develop value-added items where we give the product to other people for them to process – vacuum packed, whatever the case may be. But the important thing is I will guarantee that I will buy back every product they produce,” he said.