Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, Ministry officials, managers and members of the Board of Directors at Pine Hill Dairy, on tour of the company’s processing facilities. (S.Forde/BGIS)

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, is impressed with the Pine Hill Dairy’s (PHD) Voyager Plant Optimization (VPO) process, describing it as “a benchmark for manufacturing in Barbados”.

Mr. Weir’s comments came following a tour of the company’s processing facilities at The Pine, St. Michael on Wednesday.

He expressed the hope that the PHD would share with other manufacturers in Barbados how they can reach VPO standards and become “world-class operating facilities”. VPO is a facility management system with rigorous standards.

During the tour, led by the PHD’s Technical Operations Manager, Janelle Worrell, Mr. Weir, Ministry officials, the Board of Directors of the PHD and the media were shown how the processing plant receives milk from some 20 local farmers; the procedure for inspection; and the processes that occurs to bring about the finished tetra pack product.

“Very, very high tech…a fine example of what technology can do in terms of reaching efficiencies in management and in reducing operation cost,” the Minister observed.

Banks Holdings Limited (BHL) Country Manager, José Infante, also gave a brief presentation on the history of the PHD and its products. He noted that the company represented 50 per cent of the BHL’s group sales revenue, with juice products representing 57 per cent of their total volume and milk, 43 per cent. 

Another point of interest was that the PHD is currently exporting its products to the USA and several Caribbean countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua, St. Lucia and St. Marteen.  

On noting the PHD’s exports, Minister Weir commented: “I am happy to note, that [it] is exporting to countries within CARICOM. I am a strong believer in us working the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and I am indeed even more pleased to note that you have used this trading block as an option for Barbados to get into the export market.” He added that discussion often centred on how much foreign currency Barbados uses to import products, so it was important to note that the PHD was actually exporting its products and earning foreign currency.

sheena.forde@barbados.gov.bb

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