Helping agro-businesses in Suriname get ready for export
A project that could help agro-processers in Suriname break into markets in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago is underway. The Surinamese businesses‚Äîlarge and small enterprises that are owned by both men and women‚Äîare benefiting from training in a range of areas to improve the export-readiness of their products. These areas include market access, branding, labelling and packaging. The Suriname Business Forum, the largest business support organization in Suriname will also receive support in developing a new website that will provide information to Suriname businesses on trading in CARICOM and other markets. Kokori, a cassava porridge made in Suriname, is displayed on a local supermarket shelf. Kokori, marketed as an infant formula, is one of the Surinamese products being targeted for export. The Surinamese agro-processers are directly benefiting from the CSME Standby Facility for Capacity Building, which focuses on strengthening business' skills and competencies to access markets in CSME at the national level. This facility is made possible through a contribution agreement between the European Union and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). It complements a similar facility for CARIFORUM countries (CARICOM member states and the Dominican Republic) for the implementation of the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Both facilities are managed by CDB' Technical Cooperation Division. The project will develop supply relationships between Suriname-based agricultural exporters and importers and distributors in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. It will also take into account the market access requirements of, and competitive conditions in, the two CARICOM countries. Through the project, participating companies could begin to export to Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados as early as July 2017. It is being funded by a grant of USD274,000 from the CSME Standby Facility for Capacity Building, and is being implemented by the Suriname Business Forum. A woman in Brokopondo village, Suriname, displays freshly baked cassava flatbread. Women in the village have formed a cooperative to process cassava into several products with export potential. To date, both facilities have funded 26 projects with a combined budget of EUR6.5 million. The facilities are set to close in March 2017 by which time all projects will have been completed.