While many Barbadians enjoy coconut water, there has been questions surrounding the cleanliness of the method in which it is prepared.
Now, efforts are on the way in the island to ensure there are standards as Barbados hosts the regional planning meeting on the establishment of Regional Coconut Water quality, standards and protocols
The coconut global value chain (GVC) is at a critical stage, characterized by increasing demand from global markets and a stagnant supply base in origin countries.
In the Caribbean, coconut value chains have mirrored these positive global market trends. The coconut water chain alone has grown to an estimated US$ 1.36 billion market in 2014 and is projected to grow at more than 25% per year over 2015-2019.
But while demand is growing, restricted supply is a key constraint for industry growth in the region. At the same time, growing health concerns and recent independent safety sampling assessments of coconut water indicate the quality and safety of coconut water sold at retailers throughout the region is not guaranteed and public health, and, by extension, trade (intra-Regional and overseas markets) may be compromised as a result. Lack of awareness in control and testing mechanisms at the supplier and distribution level makes risks of contamination even greater because it can affect the entire supply chain process.
Within the above context, the CARICOM Secretariat has urged Regional dialogue amongst Regional authorities in order to provide relevant guidance in quality control and standards within the Regional industry. In this regard, CARDI is partnering with the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) to ensure this dialogue takes place with a view to providing a framework for the monitoring, evaluation and control of coconut water quality within the Region.
The meeting is being held at CROSQ Headquarters in Warrens, St. Michael today.
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