Export boost for ackee and callaloo distributor
Southside Distributors Limited has seen "significant growth" in exports of products like ackee and callaloo since it teamed up with Jamaica Promotion's (JAMPRO's) Export Max programme.
The six-year-old agro-processing company was able to promote more overseas, a step it was could not afford in the past, said chief executive officer Denese Palmer.
"We participated in trade shows and, if we could not go, we would send our products with JAMPRO representatives," she said.
Export Max was launched last year to help the development of 15 export-ready companies that would "take advantage of market opportunities and increase export earnings", the government agency said on its website.
The two-year programme also provides specialized assistance in market promotion, research and analysis, and targeting buyers and distributors.
Participating companies are expected to increase exports by 20 per cent by the end of the programme, JAMPRO said.
"I know Southside has grown, no doubt about it," Palmer said, adding that export sales for 2011 is the same in dollar value as that achieved between January and June of this year.
And while export sales were just over a third of total sales last year, it is now over 40 per cent of total sales for the period between January and June this year.
Located in St Elizabeth, Southside specialises in, among other things, canned ackee and callaloo, flavoured syrup and bottled drinks.
Two years after the business was established, Canada became its primary export market.
But "we're looking at the Caribbean and anywhere else," Palmer said.
Southside has already made plans to expand into the US and the UK this year, a move she said was made easier with the help provided by Export Max.
JAMPRO - the island's investment and export promotion agency - was set up over 20 years ago to facilitate and promote the development of trade, export and investment activities in all sectors of the economy.