AFTER years of hosting joint trade exhibitions and showing how business-people from St. Lucia and Taiwan could engage in joint ventures, the efforts of both countries are finally paying off.
Taiwanese businessman, Moris Hsu, has teamed up with a group of St. Lucians locally and abroad to form a joint venture company that plans to develop the agro-processing business in St. Lucia.
Though on a small scale, agro-processing has been thriving in St. Lucia. For example, one such plant at Fond Assau, Babonneau has over the past six years been producing fruit juices, fruit lollies and, for a short time, vacuumed packed ground provisions like dasheen, which were sold at Massy supermarkets.
However, Hsu’s agro-processing ideas extend beyond what is currently being done in St. Lucia and will involve the making of chocolates, processing of rice — whereby rice wine, rice cakes, rice bread and more rice products can be produced.
Hsu, who presently is the face of this joint venture between the private sector of Taiwan and of St. Lucia, met members of the media on Friday morning to explain his ideas and ambition for what seems to be the first-ever joint venture business partnership between the private sectors of the two countries.
Flanking him to show their support of the venture were Taiwan’s Ambassador to St. Lucia, Douglas Shen, and St. Lucia’s Ambassador to Taiwan, Hubert Emmanuel.
Although a time period for the company’s first presentation of its agro-processing products has not been given, a very confident Hsu pointed to a second production line by the end of this year, with operations to hopefully commence in September.
So bold was he in getting the business off the ground that he said St. Lucians could get a taste of the products by the end of this year.
But all of this is dependent on the direction that discussions between the joint venture company and the Ministry of Agriculture over the use of the agro-processing plant in Fond Assau will take.
“We are currently in discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture to use the facility at Fond Assau, which is the agro-processing centre. We are very close in reaching an agreement,” Emmanuel said.
The success of this venture could lead to an explosion of joint venture initiatives between the private sectors of the two countries, Emmanuel said.
According to him, it is very important that the first few projects coming out of this business initiative between Hsu and the group of St. Lucians are successful because if they are, a lot more Taiwanese business-people would be willing to work with St. Lucians in forming joint ventures in other areas.
He said that while Taiwan’s business-people are cautious, he is certain that on the success of Hsu and his St. Lucian colleagues’ initiative, there would be a string of Taiwan’s business-people who would like to come to St. Lucia to discuss or team up with St. Lucians for joint venture projects.
Emmanuel’s wish is for more business-people in St. Lucia to visit Taiwan, a journey that may open their eyes to business opportunities not considered before.
Hsu’s interest in St. Lucia to do business is fully aided by St. Lucia’s diplomatic mission in Taiwan headed by Emmanuel and Taiwan’s Embassy here headed by Shen — both of which laid the groundwork for what is about to happen in the agro-processing business in St. Lucia.