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JIS News

The Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC), in collaboration with the Bakers Association of Jamaica, is seeking to re-establish the local baking industry as a prime focus for support, in light of the significant contribution it has been making to the economy.
A workshop aimed at highlighting the opportunities that exist within the industry is set to take place at the JBDC’s ‘Bowling for Business’ conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre on Wednesday, November 17, beginning at 1:00 p.m.
“It is an industry that we have not taken on board fully as we do with fashion and others, so we have developed a strategic plan for the Association,” Chief Executive Officer of the JBDC, Valerie Veira told JIS News.
According to Miss Veira, the industry was of great significance to the society, as every home consumed some sort of baked product, almost on a daily basis.
As such, the revenue generated from sales had a significant impact on national development, while serving as a source of income for business owners.As part of the strategic plan, the workshop will aim to assist participants in identifying new markets, as well as the new techniques and technologies necessary for value-added products.
“We are going to be addressing the issue of sourcing equipment that speaks to flexibility in production. We will be dealing with the use of appropriate equipment depending on the size of the production, as there should be no compromise with quality, regardless of the size of the business,” she emphasized.
Another issue to be examined was the importance of achieving international standards, with special emphasis on labelling, packaging and processing.
“There is a lot of ‘back door’ activity that needs to be dealt with; policies, importation of raw materials, how customs interpret some of those products, whether they are finished or part of a process,” she explained.
“We are also working with the financial institutions to ensure that both large entities and community bakeries are seen as possible clients,” Miss Veira added.
The CEO cited the significant relationship between tourism and the baking industry, as visitors to the island were always looking to purchase Jamaican delicacies abroad. She noted that there would be particular emphasis on the cruise ship market, in terms of having baked goods available for stopover visitors, as well as supplying ships with products in larger quantities.
The issue of the exportation of goods produced locally would also be explored, as a viable business venture.
“We want to go back to some of our traditional baked goods, such as ‘duck bread’, often used at Easter and Christmas. It speaks to our history and it’s our little niche market,” she said.
There are over 130 local baking entities registered with the Bakers Association of Jamaica.