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Seprod seeks greater global reach for its products

…company exports for the first time to Africa (Mauritius, Nigeria)

Observer Business Writer

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director of Seprod Limited, Richard Pandohie is indicating that apart from the company's already growing export markets, Seprod is currently eyeing markets in the Dominican Republic to secure further reach of its products globally.

Pandohie, in an interview after the company's 80th annual general meeting on Monday (September 9), told the Jamaica Observer that this move forms part of the company's larger strategic direction.

“In the Dominican Republic progress is being showed. We've had 30 per cent growth this year over last year in terms of our business to Dom Rep and this is something we are very proud of because normally, Jamaica is such a big importer of everything. But for companies like ourselves, we have to grow and make sure that we turn this around — because our economic policy makes no sense if we're not exporting”, he shared.

He also stressed that the move by Seprod and others in the manufacturing business seeking to expand in overseas markets is very necessary if they are going to drive competition in the market.

“The idea of having a competitive dollar, driven by devaluation, is to make sure our goods are competitive elsewhere. So the idea is to go out there, and get our products out there in the larger markets”, he said.

Pandohie also asserted that with Jamaica's food import bill now averaging US$900 million per year, which he deems as ludicrous, it's high time that we too allow outside markets to tap into our domestic offerings and this increase the chances of consumption of Jamaican products globally.

Pandohie, in the company's annual report for 2018, also highlighted that building out new export markets to deliver revenue and operating profit growth is a significant feature of its mandate for 2019 and beyond.

“In driving export growth our export expectation is to grow exports by more than 25 per cent each year,” the CEO and managing director stated.

Outside of its growing distribution footprint within the region and internationally in countries such as the United States, Canada and UK, the company in 2018, for the first time, also engaged new markets in Africa, wherein their first set of export goods on the continent were delivered to Mauritius and Nigeria.

Pandohie, in speaking to the progress of the company in this new market, said that it's still early days but there is an expectation to do more work.

“Recently our first set of products went out to Mauritius — Ovaltine biscuits primarily. We're very happy with the results; the customers have taken to it, the distributors, and everybody”, he said.