Growth and jobs| Cal’s prepares for JSE listing as it targets export market | New

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With an eye on global markets, manufacturer and local distribution company Cal’s Manufacturing Limited intends to enter the food processing industry over the next three years, opening the door to export more of products made in Jamaica.

The company, which had humble beginnings 23 years ago making syrup in a backyard, with just one tank and one bag of sugar, has since grown to 14 food products, eight of which it makes and the others it distributes. They include lime juice, fruit wine, vinegar, ketchup, bagged fruit juices, water, and canned foods.

Roshane Douse, Chief Operating Officer at Cal’s, revealed that the company is ahead in its preparation for listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).

He added that Cal’s is 90% ready for its IPO.

But to further expand and diversify the company’s offerings, Douse said “it’s a real challenge for us based on the space and all that.” Currently, the company operates out of a 54,000 square foot factory space located in the Garmex Freezone complex, 76 Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston, with 250 employees.

Recently, Douse, along with Managing Director Carlton Watson and other members of the Cal team, took Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Pearnel Charles, Jr on a tour of the company’s facilities.

The purpose of the visit was to show the Minister the operational procedures of the company, the difficulties encountered and to discuss future objectives.

Charles said the government is in favor of public-private partnerships.

“I think this is an opportunity for us as government to see how we can help address some of the issues, while also creating a framework for other businesses to also [benefit],” he said.

Charles further said that the government is considering as a priority the development of infrastructure, such as storage facilities, warehouses and livestock enclosures, which will facilitate the building of a “resilient agricultural sector”.

To prepare for export potential, the company is currently undertaking the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification program.

Watson said “we definitely have a lot of products in development in the pipeline,” which correlates with expected demand once the company goes public.

He informed the gleaner that the company did not export often, only occasionally and on a small scale with other Caribbean countries. This, he said, was limiting sales in the local market.

“Now we have to think about the future and really look at how we’re going to deal with all this growth,” he said of plans to find bigger factory space.

Watson said the company plans to work with local farmers to produce spice blends, jerk sauces, bottled peppers, sauces and beverages.

He asked for help from the government to acquire land to expand.

Charles said the government is encouraging the production of more Jamaican-made products as it pushes for self-sufficiency to reduce the country’s import bill.

This, he said, creates “a whole platform of opportunity for our farmers”.

“You really should see the Caribbean as your oyster because as a member of the CARICOM group we have the advantage of being able to access [this market] through regulations. Many opportunities, with a first choice in terms of selling to our partners; and we haven’t, in my opinion, exploited that as much as we should,” he said.

asha.wilks@gleanerjm.com

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