International Ackee Market Completely ‘Canned’
It is an integral part of our national dish, without the ackee there would be no ackee and saltfish, but most Jamaicans living in Jamaica cannot conceive of eating ackees from a tin. This is a luxury we are allowed to enjoy because we live here and probably have an ackee tree in our backyard. However, for those Jamaicans who live outside our beautiful shores, they can still enjoy our national dish thanks to CANCO, the leading exporters of canned ackees to the Caribbean, US and the UK.
Born out of a need to help Jamaicans feel closer to home, CANCO limited has been in operation for over twenty-four years. In 2005 however, it was decided to market the brand under the name Linstead Market Jamaica. The market for ackee has increased significantly over these twenty-four years and according to Norman McDonald, Chairman and Owner, not just the Diaspora, but foreigners have developed an insatiable appetite for our local delicacy.
With the provision of pre-shipment financing, other working capital support and refinancing, the EXIM Bank, according to McDonald really made for a true partner in making the business and his dream a success. “From the security guard, to the receptionist, to the Managing Director, provided exceptional service. I was amazed, the bank is staffed with the very best, from the top to the bottom.” He said this with great sincerity.
When asked why they are a success story, Norman says ‘ aside from the local and Us dollar financing we received from the EXIM Bank, it’s because of hard work and high standards, in the products we export as well as high standards in how we treat our employees.’ So dedicated are the staff members that even during a hurricane they refused to go home as they ‘nah mek Mr. Mc ackee spoil”. This dedication can only come from a positive reciprocity between management and staff.
In the high season there are no set working hours at the CANCO factory and a regular workforce of sixty goes up to over two hundred. All suppliers are local as such this company provides earnings not just for the canners inside the factory but from the large ackee farms to the little man on the bicycle who brings bags of ackees on the handle bars.
In case you are on your way out of the country and you didn’t manage to get your line of products from Linstead Market Jamaica no need to worry as there is a kiosk in the airport. ‘We have been getting requests from our kiosk to supply them with a wider variety of goods, and as such our product range has widened significantly. Yes we are known for our ackees, but we also do jams, soups, hot pepper sauces, canned breadfruit and so much more,’ this according to Dorothy Ramsay, Managing Director.
Ms. Ramsay says the variety of soups and jams are a huge hit on the overseas market and much more local marketing will be done very soon so that local consumers can taste of the fabulous delicacies that are the brand Linstead Market Jamaica.
‘As well as our products have been doing over the years, none of this sustainable success would have been possible without the EXIM Bank. EXIM Bank has been a savior for us as they understand what they are doing as well as being understanding.’ Norman says with a smile, and Dorothy concurs. “It is because of this continued support that we are able to fill orders on a timely basis, get paid when our orders are shipped, lower interest rates and provide job security for our staff members.”
According to Charles Lewis EXIM Bank, Chief Officer for Credit, “Norman and Dorothy are personable, hardworking individuals who are easy to sit and talk with, they know what they want, and as such their businesses’ success was inevitable.”