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News Report: "Chamber to continue focus on Bahamian exports in 2024"

Written by Chester Robards, The Nassau Guardian, December 27th, 2023


The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) will continue to focus on building the export economy of the country next year, the Chamber’s new Chairman Timothy Ingraham said recently, adding that local artisans need a larger platform and help with marketing.


Ingraham said the BCCEC has been working on expanding The Bahamas’ export economy, with help from the British and Canadian high commissions, and the diplomatic and business channels provided by the US embassy.


However, Ingraham said there is much more to be done to bring local products into export markets and convince locals to buy Bahamian.“That’s a big thing for us that we’d like to see happen, but also working on the local artisan economy,” said Ingraham.


“If you go through this country and you’d like to buy, for instance, a bedroom set, and you go into the newspapers, or on Facebook, there are a number of firms making furniture, good quality, locally produced furniture; solid wood furniture that cost less than what it costs you to import furniture.


“And, you know, I think firms or industries like these need to be given some kind of a platform to showcase their products, to be able to get their products in stores, sell direct to the consumer. And, you know, this helps our economy, if we’re able to import less, and do more things here at home.


“I mean, if you imagine after Dorian, if we had a couple of scaled up furniture production companies building furniture for homes in Abaco, for hotels, and you reduce the inputs, how much employment have would you have created locally by building this.”


Ingraham said while locals may be unsure about buying local, they should take the time to look into what is available locally. But he also explained that local companies have to do a more comprehensive job of marketing themselves and what they have to offer in terms of services or products.


“I think if they get the exposure... I always say a lot of crafts people are really good at at the craft work they do, but they’re not good at marketing,” he said. “They need to be given platforms, they need to be given assistance to help showcase their work.


“It’s the same with farmers. Farmers are good at growing stuff, but they’re not necessarily good at marketing stuff and taking that stuff to the next step.”


Through work with the British High Commission, locally produced Bassett’s rum, produced by Bahamas Distilling Company in Freeport, Grand Bahama; is the first Bahamian rum to be distributed in the United Kingdom through a distribution contract with Chelsea Vintners, a prestigious British wine and spirits distributor.





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