The Government of India helps the IFSC to Boost Food Processing and Exports

Over the next five years, the International Food Science Center (IFSC) will benefit from financial and technical support from the Government of India as it seeks to widen the island’s food processing portfolio and help small processors and entrepreneurs increase their output.

India’s High Commissioner to Barbados Dr. Shankar Balachandran

This was revealed by India’s High Commissioner to Barbados Dr. Shankar Balachandran, during a recent tour of the IFSC with Indian businessman Girish Bajaj. According to High Commissioner Balachandran, Barbados received a US$1 million grant from India. The country has only used US$550,000 so the remaining US$450,000 will be used to help small businesses through the IFSC. “We normally extend grant projects on a government-to-government level, but this is going to be on a government-to-business level,” said High Commission Balachandran.

The High Commissioner added, “We would ensure that the entrepreneurs using the grant generate enough resources to sustain the operations even after we exit after five years, and the machinery to be sourced from India will be maintained by the supplier for the lifespan of the machinery. This is the uniqueness about this grant”.

Chief Executive Officer of Export Barbados (BIDC), Mark Hill, remarked that with the assistance from India, and the certification recently received from the United States (US) Food and Drug Administration, the export future looks bright for local manufacturers. He disclosed that the IFSC, which has been in operation since November 2022, is now on a mission to achieve full Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) compliance and certification, to further help entrepreneurs and small businesses grow their operations. With the IFSC’s help, manufacturers could focus on attracting customers and building systems to keep the customers wanting more, rather than investing in equipment and machinery.

“Here we are doing condiments and sauces, but we also want to move into juicing- packaging juices in tetra packaging and putting juices into aluminum cans as opposed to just plastic bottles. We are working very closely with manufacturers to improve packaging design, so it is more exportable. We want to make sure that our designs have international appeal,” the CEO stated.

CEO Hill also said that the equipment and technical support from the Government of India together make the grant worth much more than its dollar value.