As a region we share common challenges and as a region, we can pool our strengths to overcome them.”
This was the message of Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Senator the Honourable Vasant Bharath, at day two of the 3rd Annual Caribbean Fine Cocoa Conference and Chocolate Expo. Delivering the feature address on Friday 29 June at the regional event that brought together stakeholders throughout the fine cocoa sector, Minister Bharath said cooperation was the key for the industry to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
“After many years of declining production levels, the cocoa industry is undergoing a renaissance. Consistently strong global demand, coupled with supply constraints, has increased cocoa prices across the globe,” explained Minister Bharath.
He said the Caribbean Fine Cocoa Forum (CFCF), hosts of the conference, was an “instrumental” component for developing the cocoa sector to take advantage of its commercial potential. The Minister also commended the collaborative, Pan-Caribbean approach of the CFCF, an approach he wished to see continued after the conference.
“We must continue in this spirit of collaboration when we return home and create linkages with key industry stakeholders, both public and private, to drive the expansion of this industry,” he said.
Day two of the Fine Cocoa Conference and Chocolate Expo included contributions from Stephen Cadiz, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Tourism and Jairam Seemungal, Trinidad and Tobago’s
Minister of State in the Ministry of Food Production. The conference, held at the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Tobago, brought together regional leaders, academics, planters and fine cocoa producers. The theme of this year’s conference was “Fine Cocoa: Transforming Caribbean Rural Economies in the 21st Century.”
Apart from the numerous presentations on a variety of fine cocoa-related topics, the conference also included an exposition of chocolate and other cocoa-based products. CFCF stresses value-added production in the sector as it is the most dynamic and profitable area for growth.
“Cocoa is a multi-million industry but primary cocoa captures only a very small portion of the total value,” Minister Bharath said in his feature address. “The largest returns from this industry come from the value-added products such as chocolate and refined cocoa rather than cocoa beans, the primary commodity. It is therefore imperative that we promote greater investments in the value chain which is critical to the viability of the region’s cocoa industry.”
The CFCF is a European Union-funded project created to revitalise the region’s cocoa fields and realise their full potential.
Posted By :Caribbean Fine Cocoa Forum
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