The staff at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cocoa Company has reached the 200 mark as the company continues to establish itself as a successful business, while making the local cocoa industry viable.
A press release from the SVG Cocoa Company says they are fast becoming one of the country’s largest employers.
Five persons are currently employed at the company’s main office located at Beachmont, Kingstown; another five (5) workers are stationed at the chocolate factory, also located in Beachmont. The company has 10 Extension Officers, and a staff of 12 persons are based at the plant nursery with approximately 150-175 planting and managing cocoa, according to the press release.
The company’s infrastructure includes a plant nursery, located in Dixon Village Georgetown where they are involved in planting/managing 25,000 trees per month, outside the dry season, and providing top quality plants to all qualifying farmers.
There is also a Cocoa handling facility located in Perseverance, Georgetown. That facility is an EC$ 1 million initial investment and is expected to eventually reach EC$5 million in value.
Annual cocoa production is forecast to reach 500 tonnes+ (valued at $5 million) within the next five years. The SVG Cocoa Company says the 100% Vincy Chocolate launched throughout SVG on 23rd September 2016 have received excellent response from the general population, with average sales of 1,000 bars per week.
SVCC says it is also making its mark in diversification by planting bananas as shade crop for the young cocoa plants, and are now the largest single banana grower in SVG.
However, the company officials noted that they have been forced to abandon plans to harvest the bananas commercially because many of the tissue culture plants purchased from the Ministry of Agriculture are dwarf and, spraying / supply of spray to prevent phaeosphaeria leaf spot disease no longer takes place.