Article 4692 | Island Views
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Ackee A Commercial Wakeup Call To The Caribbean

The simple Ackee is a clear sign that Caribbean people now have to get up and fight for their commercial rights. In the words of the famous Bob Marley song lyrics ‘Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights’, the Caribbean needs to start to stand up now.

Individual Caribbean island’s marketing and commerce strategies sometimes do fail, but to have success you have to try.

What prompts me to say such a thing?

My reply is the humble ‘Ackee’.

The cost of Ackee in the UK is absolutely ridiculous and also the Ackee availability in retail shops and supply chains in the UK is now dominated by Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Pakistan shops and suppliers.

I could give you so many more examples of Caribbean foods and produce that now cost a fortune in the UK, but do not cost much in the native islands and countries where they come from, however for now I will use Ackee as an example.


This prompts me to ask the following questions about Ackee:

• What happens during the entire supply chain process before it hits the retail shops?

• Who are the main Caribbean importers to the UK and main exporters from the Caribbean to the rest of the world?

• Are all the main supply chains planting, growing, harvesting, processing, bottling & assembly, sales and marketing, including shipping and processes, dominated by other countries such as the Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Pakistan, who own or run the companies, contracts, management and personnel?

Around the world there are other products that reflect other forms of economic imbalances, one example has been highlighted by the American Chris Rock in his documentary called ‘Hair’, which was aired on the BBC channel in the UK.

What needs to be looked at and compared, are the facts about the cheap commodities on the Caribbean Islands and how these Caribbean islands need to make their own economic supply chains, so that customers in the UK and around the world like you or I, can purchase Caribbean produce at reasonable costs and at the same time benefit the Caribbean.


What are the restrictions for the Caribbean islands and their peoples?

• Are the land and lease rights all taken up?

• When do they get renewed and who can bid for these farming rights?

• How does the IMF voting system feature in all of this?

• Is the Caribbean allowing too much of its home grown foods and produce, to be used for tourism and exported to other countries, which is forcing the Caribbean to import more to feed itself?

Is the reserving of too much produce for tourism and the exporting of too much produce to other countries ‘owned’ supply chains, creating a lack of produce for the Caribbean Islands to trade for themselves, therefore forcing Caribbean’s to buy more and more expensive imported foods or goods, leaving Caribbean’s with no money to invest in their own future supply chains?

These questions and more should be considered by each of the Islands or collectively as a group of Caribbean islands, such as:

• What is the loss to the economies of each island for not providing their own supply chains directly?

• What is the gain to the economies of each island if they provide their own supply chains?

• What is the loss to the economies of each island during a change over of companies, management and potentially personnel?

I would presume the workforce will be the workforce no matter what. Therefore it will be up to groups of individuals to come together, to collectively address the economic imbalance and any links to their politicians, including political corruption. Look at the corruption found in cricket, at FIFA, within banks and even in the actions of some organisations and countries, we as individuals cannot leave it for such companies and organisations to change, because clearly they have no desire to change.

However it still costs £6 approximately to purchase a small tin of Ackee, compared to the free product that is growing wild in the Caribbean.


Why is it that there are few Caribbean people who provide home grown Caribbean products to Caribbean people?

It is time for more Caribbean’s, including 2nd and 3rd generation Caribbean’s, plus 2nd and 3rd generation Caribbean descendants, to provide their own services. It is no longer a mystery or rocket science to know how the markets work, neither is it rocket science to see where and who Caribbean’s can potentially trade with.

Yes, it will be hard at first.

Just because these countries and companies are already doing this work, or trading and are already in the Caribbean or on the islands, this does not mean that you, or me, or the Caribbean cannot do it. Ok it is hard, but what in life is not hard when you have to do it for yourself?

It is also time for our individual purchasing power, to be used to directly affect and ensure that the Caribbean islands get the help and finance, to set-up Caribbean owned supply chains to benefit the Caribbean islands, and for the Caribbean’s poorer and more impoverished citizen to get your help, through your individual purchasing power, just like all ‘ethical commerce’.

Listen to the Bob Marley song lyrics ‘Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights’ and get the Caribbean working for the Caribbean’s.


See another article in this series:

UK Local Shop Takeovers

The Power Of Your Tiny Individual Purchases


Posted by under Earth & Animal Care, Food & Drink, Media & Travel

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