Spur Tree Spices targets ackee for growth
BAILEY...not enough investment has been made in establishing ackee farms

WITH the listing of Spur Tree Spices on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange now in the rear view, the company is taking aim at fulfilling demand for ackee exports as it plots a growth path for 2022.

Speaking during the Mayberry Investor Forum last Wednesday, Spur Tree Spices CEO Albert Bailey said the company is facing major challenges in meeting the international demand for ackee but is working assiduously to address the issue.

“We plan to address our ackee shortage by developing ackee farms. In fact, we have already started some work in this regard as we plan to accelerate our production of ackee,” he said, adding, “…not enough investment has been made in establishing ackee farms, so as a business this is something that we're looking at and that will be implemented.”

The focus on ackee production forms part of the company's strategic plans to continue building and capitalising on Brand Jamaica. Currently, Spur Tree uses 80 per cent of local resources to create its products, including raw material inputs, bottles, boxes and labels.

Included in the company's line of locally manufactured products are seasonings, sauces, spices and canned products.

“There are so many excellent and wonderful flavours that we have here in Jamaica. We want to capitalise on the strength of Brand Jamaica; that is what has propelled us in conjunction with the work we have done in the market. Brand Jamaica is very strong and that is what we represent,” Bailey remarked.

The CEO added that the company plans on rationalising the operations of Exotic Products to double production over the next two years. Back in December last year, Bailey told Jamaica Observer that Spur Tree Spices had acquired the St Thomas-based manufacturer early in 2021 to leverage its United States Food and Drug Administration approvals to export ackees from Jamaica into that market

On Wednesday, during the Mayberry Investor Forum, Bailey shared that the acquisition will allow Spur Tree Spices to upgrade the infrastructure and equipment at Exotic Products in order to increase productivity.

Commenting on Spur Tree Spices' growth prospects, Mayberry's Senior Vice-President of Investment Banking Dan Theoc said he is pleased with the work the company has done and hopes to see more of the company's positive economic impact.

“I'm excited about the country's foreign exchange earnings. We're seeing lots of positive signs where companies like Spur Tree are making a positive impact on the market. They make over 90 per cent of their revenue from exports so I can see that on the supply side we will be earning a lot more US dollars as a country,” he said.

Up to September last year Spur Tree reported a 28 per cent increase in revenues that resulted in a 39 per cent increase in gross profit. The company also earned over $542 million in revenue during the first eight months of 2021 and, based on projections, will grow in profitability by 35 per cent by the end of this fiscal year.

BY JOSIMAR SCOTT Senior reporter josimars@jamaicaobserver.com

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