The Cayman Islands Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is moving forward to establish direct agricultural trade link with Honduras in an effort to strengthen the Islands' food and nutrition security.
This follows an exploratory mission to Honduras last week led by the Minister of Agriculture Hon. Jay Ebanks, Chief Officer Eric Bush, other representatives of the Government as well as members of the private sector.
During the visit, the team met with Bader Dip, Mayor of La Cieba and his Council to discuss trade with the Cayman Islands. Discussions were also held with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Atlántida as well as various cross industry business executives.
In commenting on the visit to Honduras, Minister Ebanks stated that it was a fruitful scoping mission to establish trade connections between the two countries. "We largely depend on the United States for our fruits, produce and other goods. With the increasing cost of living, the Government is committed to exploring various avenues to lessen the burden for the people of the Cayman Islands," he stated.
He further said, “We are looking to establish and promote a direct shipping route between the Cayman and Honduras later this year. In an effort to diversify our food sources in line with our food and nutrition security policy, Honduras is one of the targeted countries due to proximity and our strong cultural ties. They can provide agricultural produce and other value added products that are fresh, low cost, nutritious and high quality. We have a direct air route with them so the next logical step is to establish a shipping route between the countries".
Chief Officer Eric Bush noted that expanding intra-regional trade is critical to Cayman's food security and economic stability. "The Ministry will be working closely with the private sector to ascertain the needs of the Islands and to assist and support the logistics to make the trade bridge as smooth and effortless as possible," he emphasised.
While in Honduras, the delegation also attended a Chamber of Commerce expo in La Ceiba, toured several dairy farms, meat packing plants, an aggregate plant in San Pedro Sula and the Port of Cortes. They also visited the Port of Cabotaje in La Ceiba.
Earlier in May, the Ministry of Agriculture approved a broadened list of agricultural produce that can be imported to the Cayman Islands under a new import export arrangement with Jamaica.
The produce added to the list are plantain, breadfruit, soursop as well as blanched and frozen ackees.