Canelle Farms GM speaks on issues in exporting agricultural produce
Nicholas Faisal, General Manager of Canelle Farms
The general manager of Canelle Farms, a company that exports agricultural produce to several Caribbean islands, has explained some of the challenges such a business is facing.
In an interview with Loop News, Nicholas Faisal, whose business is located in Micoud, spoke on the importance of quality in the industry.
Some of the products he exports include dry coconuts, bananas, plantains and mangoes. His main markets in the Caribbean are Antigua, St Kitts and Barbados.
Faisal, who is also a farmer, has felt the impact of supplying unacceptable quality to one of his markets when earlier this year four batches of his consignments of bananas and plantains were rejected in Barbados in consecutive weeks due to the presence of mealybugs among them.
He said the situation had impacted the farmers in a big way because they were unable to get paid for those consignments.
However, in that case, he is not fully apportioning blame on them for the blow.
“It’s a blow they did not have much control over. The farmers did not have the ability to secure the right chemical to control the mealybugs,” Faisal said, adding that all farmers who produced during that time suffered.
He said that the situation was compounded by the weather pattern, “That came about because of the extended dry spell, a situation which the farmers had no control over.”
Among some of the other variables that determine the success of businesses like his are the availability of agricultural inputs, skilled farm workers and the way the farmers handle their crops on the field.
Faisal identified some of those tasks as harvesting, deflowering and packaging. He said if these things are not done properly, it causes incremental damages to the crops, which can cause their produce to be rejected in the foreign market.
“Generally, the farmers are able to produce a nice bunch up to the market standard, but sometimes in their harvesting and handling they encounter some difficulties,” Faisal explained.
As it relates to the unavailability of skilled farm workers, he lamented that some workers have left the industry and gotten into other fields such as security and construction.
“In the past we had a lot of efficient and skilled farm workers. A lot of them have now moved to greener pasture,” he said.
Faisal said despite the shortcomings and challenges his business has experienced during its eight years in operation, it has served the country well.
“It has been able to provide support to rural communities, impacting positively on the livelihood of residents there,” he said.