Business

Canco anxious to engage in more contract manufacturing

Company also seeks increased supply for agro-processing in order to tap into more global markets

BY KELLARAY MILES
Business reporter
milesk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

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With the company's advantage in having excess capacity for production, local agro-processors Canco Limited has announced that they are anxiously seeking to engage more companies that may need additional support and the facility to produce.

Speaking at a Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association tour of the company's factory facilities on Friday last, Norman McDonald, executive chairman at Canco, said that his company is willing and ready to offer production support to other companies who may be lacking in this regard.

“We have excess capacity and not a lot of companies have this. The challenge, however, is to get people who are willing to take that leap of faith to have other people produce for them. We are anxious to produce for other people. We are willing to use our factory spaces to do any type of production; if it can go into a can or bottle we can do it for you,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Disclosing that his company is currently doing producing for two other companies, McDonald expressed that he was eager for more companies to partner in this contract manufacturing venture so as to utilise the world-class standardised facilities that they possess.

“We have a facility that is approved internationally; once it is passed from this point it can be exported. It however will have to pass all the standard requirements. If a new product comes in here, it can't just come in and be exported right away; it has to go through stringent testing among other measures first,” he said.

With the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) expressing an interest and making their services available to help the company in this regard, McDonald was very optimistic that his company would soon begin to reap benefits in this area.

Canco, which prides itself on 30 years of food processing experience, is a family- owned Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)-certified food processing facility with expertise in manufacturing, branding, exporting, local and international distribution and importing.

The company in its quest to produce for other businesses also highlighted that outside of its ability to process canned or bottled products for other entities it also has “the capacity to pre-process fruits and vegetables, package products and offer services ranging from warehousing, merchandising, distribution and guidance in food safety certifications with exceptional quality assurance”. This will be done through its Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) registered facility, which has Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliance and is currently transitioning from free Zone to Special Economic Zone (SEZ) tatus.

MORE SUPPLIES NEEDED

During the tour of its Seaforth, St Thomas facility, Canco, which trades under the Linstead Market brand through a range of products including canned ackee, callaloo, gungo peas, jams and jellies, also cited the unavailability of raw materials among its greatest challenge.

McDonald shared that the company is experiencing challenges with sourcing products especially ackee, which is the company's primary product.

“We export our products and a lot of it is ackee and callaloo of which nearly 99 per cent goes to the United States, where we're in 22 states. We have an excellent reputation for our ackee and callaloo”, he shared with the Business Observer.

“We have 400 suppliers; we need to get more, and we need to get more that are dedicated and consistent. The company buys the products by the box. We are currently buying 60,000 or more boxes for the year but we desire for supplies to be pushed up to about 100,000 boxes a year,” McDonald stated.

He implored suppliers to come forward with supplies as the company has the market for the goods.

“I will harvest it for you because the company is ready, waiting and willing to buy it from you and process it for export,” he said.

David Martin, vice-president, JMEA, added that the company was able to expand its product offering based on the shortage.

“They went from ackee to gungo peas to all the other things because they needed to do something with the factory when they can't find ackees,” he said.

He then recommended that the company take a stronger collection mechanism approach in trying to get the products in the factory for production.

“For the ackees that go to waste and rot off the trees; the company needs to take every measure to reach out to more suppliers to get the products in their factory,” he offered.

In responding to questions of export and tapping into other markets globally, the company has said that its challenge is more centred on supply than market as it has the ability to tap into any market butjust needs to work on being able to supply the demand.

“Our issue is not market, but supply, so any amount of ackee, callaloo and fruit that can be supplied we can take, produce and export. It's not a market issue, it's a supply issue that we are having,” said Guila Bernal, director of human resources at the company.


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