A contingent from the Dominica Export Import Agency (DEXIA) and local agro-processors is spending this week in the French West Indies (FWI) territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique to build relationships and explore markets for local products.
Head of the Agency’s Export Promotion and Development Department, Lloyd Pascal is leading the delegation comprising Operations Manager of the DEXIA-managed Multi-Purpose Pack Houses Bristol Lawrence, Marketing Officer Mitch Jno. Charles and producers Joey Peltier of Layou Park Nature Farms, Deryck St. Rose of Roses Unlimited (pepper sauce manufacturers), Sherma Gregoire of Heaven Scent Soaps and Linvor Ambo of Allorzee Ventures (makers of Choco Dominique).
The delegation will meet with key stakeholders to discuss existing market conditions and opportunities for export of products and produce from Dominica to the French West Indies.
“This mission can assist our producers in identifying some key distributors, and so it’s an opportunity for them to meet with people on the ground and to understand for themselves, what the challenges are and what the competition is out there and how they need to step up in terms of building their businesses and building up their brand,” says Pascal.
He says in this Post-Maria landscape the availability of raw materials is a challenge but it is still important to have a presence in the market and build from there. Mr. Pascal adds that this trip is also an opportunity to discuss issues concerning hucksters who transport fresh produce from Dominica and sell in FWI markets, including compliance with French regulations and the notable decrease in exports from Dominica.
“We want to see how we can have a better understanding of what the market involves- what is going on right now, what changes are taking place in the market and how we can step up, mitigate and change things in terms of our operations [there].”
The delegation will first stop in Guadeloupe, where from Monday 17th June; members will meet with the Guadeloupe Regional Council and Chamber of Commerce. There will also be engagements with members of the Dominica Guadeloupe Association. On Wednesday the 19th, they will travel to Martinique to meet with the Chamber of Commerce.
For his part, Mr. Lawrence is looking forward to “meeting with clients including hucksters and other clients that the Agency ships produce to. He says the MPPH staff will also be looking at their competitors and exploring some new opportunities that may exist such as meeting with a potential client interested in importing peppers and perhaps even pepper mash, both of which DEXIA can supply.”
Sherma Gregoire is the owner and founder of Heaven Scent Soaps and has been a client of DEXIA’s for the last three years. This is her first such visit to the FWI with DEXIA. She is looking forward to discussions with supermarkets and distributors for her products and says the opportunity will be a “big boost” for her business.
As a Trade Promotion Agency and Business Support Office, DEXIA has embarked on similar visits to markets including Antigua, The USVI and Barbados.
The delegation returns to Dominica on Friday 21st June 2019.