The line in the popular commercial says “Catch me if you can!” – and that’s exactly what this Trinidad-born brand is doing as it starts to export its first set of product to Cyprus soon.
Arthur Lok Jack established Associated Brands Industries Limited (ABIL) in 1974 and “Catch” is among the many popular chocolate products and confectioneries produced by the company.
Since then Lok Jack has been persistent in exploring foreign markets, starting with the Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM) where (ABIL) has a dominant presence.
The Cyprus breakthrough may be considered a significant breakthrough as part of Lok Jacks’s drive to ride high with world players in the game of chocolate where Trinidad and Tobago already reigns as a key player in blending.
The first batch of “Catch” exports is expected to leave Trinidad in September.
This provides good news for the Trinidad and Tobago economy, especially at a time when the tiny twin-island Caribbean democratic republic (population;1.6 million approx.) is looking to bolster its non-energy exports to compensate for any possible shortfalls in revenue likely from its staple oil/gas/based income stream which has been recently facing uncertain times.
In delivering the 2020/21 National Budget last September, Finance Minister Colm Imbert indicated that the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries will benefit from a TT$500m (US$1 = TT$6.70 approx) Stimulus Package to be established and funded in 2021.
This package, the Minister said will be in addition to the normal budgetary allocation for the Agricultural sector and it will represent a 70% increase over last year’s allocation.
“The funding will support the rapid expansion in production and marketing of selected high-demand commodities with short production cycles such as vegetables, legumes, roots and tubers, grains, fruits and small live stock; adequate quality seeds will be secured; the use of alternative feedstock will be encouraged; and land issues will be addressed with a view to accelerating land tenure and access to idle state lands”, the Finance Minister said.
Employment in agriculture (% of total employment) in Trinidad and Tobago was reported at 2.891 % in 2020, according to the World Bank.
Associated Brands Industries Limited has 700 total employees across all of its locations and generates $81.36 million in sales (USD).
In this context, “Catch” can surely be seen as a source of hope for “Sweet T+T” to successfully navigate a successful exports course that should not only raise the bar to significantly new levels of forex, but will also help the country beat the current COVID 19 pandemic once and for all.