Submitted by St. George’s Dragon
Barbados is struggling economically, with tourism numbers down and foreign exchange earnings accordingly reduced. The position is not helped by the decline in earnings from the off-shore sector and the sugar industry. There seems to be no end in sight to the debate about whether we can modernise the sugar industry, and nothing seems to be happening to build up agriculture, either in order to export and earn foreign currency, or feed ourselves and save foreign import costs.
One possible route to earning foreign exchange which I have not even heard mentioned is the production and sale of coconut water. Sales in the USA and UK are booming and Rihanna is the marketing face of one brand of coconut water in the UK – see LINK.
I am conscious that our worst fault is to talk about things we could do, then to do nothing. Surely, though, it must be worth investigating whether we could ride the back of the worldwide interest in coconut water? We would need to learn from our experience in sugar and not go into bulk exports thereby allowing someone else make the profit by branding, packaging and selling. Instead, we would need to market a “Barbados” brand and pasteurise and can it here. Government should not be involved. If they are nothing will happen – as with the Sea Island cotton project.
I have the prime candidate to take it on – Banks. Their business is drinks production. They have new pasteurisation and bottling/canning facilities and they know how to export.
What about it Mr Cozier?