One of this country’s leading manufacturers is reporting major hindrances to its export drive.
General manager of WIBISCO, the 102 year old biscuit maker on White Park Road, Adrian Padmore told Minister of Industry Denis Kellman this afternoon, that these impediments ranged from problems in importing raw materials, to port costs, high freight cost and limited vessel availability to lack of marketing support within the Diaspora.
Speaking to a gathering of officials from the ministry, the Barbados Industrial Development Corporation and Barbados Manufacturers Association just before a tour of the biscuit factory, Padmore said his business faced another challenge in its ability to grow its exports at a much faster rate, that would boost foreign exchange earnings and the national economy as well.
“We need a huge ramp-up of our exports, and we believe this should be a Government priority, as we look at the projections for continued growth in a number of major international markets,” Padmore added.
“We need,” he continued, “a national export expansion strategy designed to achieve a large and sustained increase in our exports.”
The general manager noted that as the country looked to improve its economy, exports must be key, “and so we must be able to address and overcome the hurdles within our way”.
Padmore told Kellman he anticipated greater dialogue with his ministry and the Barbados Manufactures Association in order to chart a sustainable way forward.
“As we build our future, exports are undoubtedly key to our way forward. We have a well developed and mature market in Barbados, and have been steadily spreading our wings in the regional and international arenas,” the WIBISCO boss declared.
He disclosed that the firm had invested significantly in equipping itself in order to build capacity and ensure it was able to deliver consistently.
“And we have had very good result,” he boasted.
In response, Kellman suggested that while Government was not in the business of blocking imports, the only way it could pay for them, was to make money from exports.
He urged WIBISCO and other manufacturers to ensure they focused on building capacity in order to export, so that the minister of finance could have the money to fund all the ideas the ministry had to push manufacturing.
The minister appealed, too, to Barbadians to support locally produced goods and services, in addition to capitalising on their available lands to grow “yard fowls”.
He said politicians had bastardised the yard fowls, which were also good for eating the termites that would otherwise destroy people’s houses.
The minister suggested that rather than producing the “good old” yard fowls, people were growing chickens in no time at all.
Apart from WIBISCO, Kellman also visited Oran Limited and L&M Workshop at Cane Garden, St. Thomas. He praised the work of the three companies, insisting that manufacturing was not dead, as some believed. (EJ)