The United States market has been one of the most coveted yet difficult markets to penetrate. Border regulations and other non-tariff barriers have made it increasingly difficult for small countries like Saint Lucia to successfully penetrate these markets.
Export Saint Lucia has been actively pursuing export opportunities in the United States, and in February 2019 embarked on a familiarization and fact-finding mission to the market.
Export Saint Lucia CEO, Sunita Daniel hailed the mission a success.
“We can confirm that we have received contracts for non-traditional agricultural produce, for example our local breadfruit, which buyers have stated is among the best they have seen because of its yellowish color and size, which is preferred by the U.S. consumer. There is also confirmed demand for sea moss, particularly in California, for its potential health benefits, and we think that it can only augur well for our sea moss farmers if we can take advantage of this opportunity.”
The CEO also went on to identify two major deliverables coming from the mission. “In our meeting with some members of the Miami Chamber of Commerce, it was agreed that we would explore the use of Algas Organics “Plant Tonic” on a number of baseball fields in the wider U.S. and possibly for golf courses in Florida. This would be a wonderful opportunity for the company if the product is adopted as the “go-to” fertilizer for the fields of play for two of America’s favorite pastimes. “
Daniel further stated, “As it stands, some Saint Lucian products are not allowed entry into the US, specifically; soursop, mangoes, and golden apples. During the mango season we see an abundance of mangoes, some even going to waste in St. Lucia, while there is a great demand for these products in the US. We’ve had discussions with the FDA, and they’ve given us a contact at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and together with our Ministry of Agriculture we will examine how we can start the conversation with the USDA on lifting those restrictions for these agricultural products. So very soon we should see the export of Golden Apples and Mangoes to the U.S. market”
According to the Director of Client Management Jerson Badal, Export Saint Lucia sought opportunities beyond the traditional supermarkets and distributorships, to target ethnic stores and terminal markets with a view to increase exports for smaller exporters. Badal added, “We also wanted to look at existing exporters and how best we can increase their arrangements for market entry. Critically we wanted to ensure that once market entry was successful, that the exporters had the ability to maintain and sustain entry requirement and demand. We also want to look at opportunities for artistes, musicians, and persons in the fashion industry. The mission went through an enormous amount of research to identify which products presented the best opportunities for market entry, which distributors should be targeted, including logistics and other factors which may impact exports.”
Export Saint Lucia will continue to keep the public abreast on these and other strides as it relates to the U.S. market.