Tobago soon to produce bacon, sausages

Breakfast will soon be even bigger business in Tobago.

That’s because the Tobago House of Assembly’s Executive Council recently approved just shy of $2 million in funding under the Venture Capital Equity Fund Limited (VCEFL) to support Pork International Group Limited’s business expansion.

That expansion will include establishing a processing plant to produce and package meat products like bacon, ham and sausages in Tobago, according to Secretary of Finance and Enterprise Development Assemblyman Joel Jack.

At last Wednesday’s weekly post Executive Council media briefing at the Calder Hall Administrative Complex, Scarborough, Jack said this funding is in addition to a previous $2 million provided to two enterprises by the VCEFL in July.

The Secretary said there are several benefits from supporting the Group’s expansion, including employment opportunities for at least 30 Tobagonians, a reduction on the island’s food import bill due to an available local supply, and the option for organic meat products.

The project, he said, will also stimulate the agriculture and agro processing sector, a major goal of the THA, which has been focused on diversifying the economy as Tobago works towards sustainable development. Government’s plans to support efforts to secure new anchor tenants at the Cove Eco Business and Industrial Park and to construct a new cargo port, will help boost the island’s industrial sector.

Through its Business Development Unit, the Finance Division uses vehicles such as the VCEFL, the Enterprise Assistance Fund (EAF) and the Enterprise Assistance Grant Programme (EAGP) to develop and help stimulate the growth of business on the island by supporting the expansion of local businesses according to its mandate, Jack said.

Jack further disclosed that following several trade missions to Caribbean and North American destinations, Tobago’s Springtime Food Products and Smart Foods Caribbean Limited, which were funded by the EAF, have begun exporting condiments and other pre-packaged food items to New York and Miami.

“Our prospects are indeed growing and I must say we are penetrating the export market,” he said.

The Division is also following up several other leads, where overseas distributors have expressed interest in local products.

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